Science fiction has us believe that robotics are a monument towards the heights of human achievement; that we as simple flesh and bone are able to create beings and machines far greater at completing tasks with greater efficiency and precision than we could ever hope to dream. From the replicants of blade runner, to the vastness of the Skynet army seen in the terminator franchise, many of us can see the potential in a world shared with automatons, both good and bad. But as exemplified by these films, many of these scenarios exist in the far future, and none of them really focus too much on the origins of their creation. In other words, how does the realm of robotics and futuristic technology look like today, in the real world?
Is it flying cars? Androids? State-of-the-art plasma rifles capable of eviscerating a cow into tiny chunks of delicious, tender meat? Close, but not quite there yet. What we have to present to you instead are 6 robotic creations that may either increase your paranoia of a dystopian, robotic takeover or lessen it to that of just trash bins talking to each other with goofy microsoft sam voices (insert link). Read on at your own peril.
6. The Limbless Cat Pillow (Qoobo)
Bet this wasn’t the first robot you were expecting when you clicked on this list – let alone include. Star Trek nerds who are looking for a pet that’s the closest thing to a tribble can find solace in this limbless, lifeless, ball of destitute fur, which amongst all social circles looks little more than a pillow with an attached tail. If anything other than a glorified stress reliever, this quadruple amputee cat’s primary purpose is that of mitigating anxiety through its petting function, which when rubbed or at all interacted with, signals its tail to wag. The primary focus group of this strange but oddly satisfying commodity is that of children, senior citizens, and people who would rather make do without the unconditional love and affection of house pets. Although modest in appearance (the fur is not real cat fur, so stay away Peta), the product comes in the ballpark of 100 hundred dollars, so if you’re thinking about shipping this to a friend as an early christmas present (that is, if they don’t mistake it for a frankensteined house cat), you might want to wait until you get a discount.
5. Robot Motörhead Cover band (Compressorhead)
Planning for a wedding and Motörhead still hasn’t replied to your e-mails of playing for you and your betrothed? Well how about hiring a cover band that does the exact same thing! No, I’m not talking about those shambling bags of flesh with guitars, you need something that isn’t meat and bones, something that will play for hours on end without succumbing to muscle fatigue. How about a band powered by none other than batteries and grease! Introducing compressorhead, a rock band entirely comprised of robots and other like-minded automatons. The brainchild of Berlin-based artist Frank Barnes and his two collaborators Markus Kolb and Stock Plum, compressorhead is complete with a bassist, drummer, guitarist, and even vocalist (voiced by Robb Wright, bassist of Canadian punk rock band Nomeansno). While known for doing covers and the sort of existing bands such as AC/DC, the aforementioned Motörhead, and even Pantera, Compressorhead has also an album in 2017 dubbed Party Machine, solidifying their status as actual producers of original music and not being just that of an art project.
4. Homeless Man Deterrent (Knightscope K5)
If nothing other than a miniature surveillance drone on wheels, the K5 from Knightscope surely offers a bunch of stories from its conception into the public eye. Harmless at first sight, the bot had a bad rep in 2017 for a variety of incidents, including knocking over a toddler and scaring away homeless men from taking shelter on local streets. The company boasts about its robots high-tech functions and capabilities, but with a status as infamous as this, it’s hard to tell. That being said, these all appear as isolated incidents, and the company has even issued a statement that went along the lines of their creation having had no problems before with going on patrol. However, it is still funny to look at the aftermath of certain incidents, especially one that involved the K5 falling face first (it has a face right?) into a water fountain. If civilizations eventual demise is attributed to the rise of a militant homeless population, we definitely know who we should have at the front lines.
Probably the most human looking robot on our list, Sofia is the result of Hong Kong based company Hanson Robotics. Made with a likeness to the late actor Audrey Hepburn, Sofia is designed to emulate the characteristics of human conversation, allowing her to talk and interact with us using complex systems aided further by ‘block-chain technology’. I won’t even try to pretend I understand any of the intricacies behind her creation, but the bottom line is this: she is a a very smart robot capable of many forms of speech and communication.
2. Japanese Exosuit
Of course, what is an article about robots without Japan being brought up at least once? Aka Tomohiro is a young Japanese engineer based in Tokyo who specializes in the construction of towering exoskeletons made out of light flexible materials scrounged from recycled parts. Him and his partner work together out of a small garage, assembling the parts and forming them to create the full piece. DailyWOW covered a short story on them as seen above. If you’re interested in seeing a giant robot man successfully punt a soccer ball at our poor cameraman, then make sure to watch the video!
1. Stickman (Robot Acrobat)
Last on our list is a robot that takes to the skies….. before succumbing to gravity. The robot appropriately named stickman, was designed by Disney’s research division as a means to create a robot capable of aerial stunts; similar to that of an acrobat at a circus. While possessing the ability of doing flips and tricks, the team also wanted to minimize the need for employee safety, as the use of a robot would mean that a human being wouldn’t have to, and also wouldn’t get hurt in case something went wrong.
Interested to know more about cool robots? The dailyWOW team covered a story on 2 entrepreneurs who create robots out of recycled materials. See below!
Author: Gerald Wan Anyi