Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10 Coolest Robots in the World

 No. 1 Fitting model robot.

The robot can shift into 2,000 different bodily forms, and customers can watch it try on different clothes. It is called "The Terminator Fitting Model."

 No. 2 Hair-washing robot.

If Panasonic can build an exercise horse, then surely a robot that washes your hair should come as surprise. Imagine being lifted from your bed by a plush care-assistance robot and placed into a chair for an automatic shampoo and scalp massage.

That is the future of care for the elderly and sick in Japan or the rich and lazy everywhere else. Panasonic's hair-washing robot scans each human head three-dimensionally to apply just the right amount of pressure during the shampoo, massage and rinse phases. It recognizes repeat customers and then applies that person's preferred massage course using its human-like sixteen "fingers." Each arm contains a trio of motors to power swing, press and massage motions... or to snap your spinal column should you decide to sass.

 No. 3 Bartender robot.

The robot can accept customers' orders just like real bartender. When customers come up to it, it will offer them a cocktail list and make cocktails for customers. It will also tell some funny jokes in the process.

 No. 4 Shirt-folding robot.

All we have to say about this shirt-folding robot is that it does a better job than we could ever hope to. And for that, we love it.

 No. 5 Automower.

Husqvarna says they tried building a completely solar powered robot mower, but it required a huge auxiliary panel (something like 12 square feet), and the fact that the robot couldn't mow reliably (it had to wait for a sunny day) kind of defeated the purpose of an automated lawn care system. The important point, though, is that electric mowers in general are far more environmentally friendly than their gas cousins and adding a solar panel just makes things even better.

 No. 6 Robot surgeon.

A team of surgeons at McGill University, including the da Vinci robo-surgeon and a robot anesthesiologist named McSleepy recently removed some a man's prostate during what is being billed as the world's first all-robotic surgery. The device transmits hi-def 3D images to a nearby workstation, where it is controlled by surgeons "with a precision that cannot be provided by humans alone," according to MUHC urologist-in-chief A. Aprikian. Of course, the robots are being kept on a tight leash by their human operators, with McGill's Thomas Hemmerling pointing out that "[r]obots will not replace doctors but help them to perform to the highest standards." Just tell that to all the other medical robots we've seen in this space, eh, doc? We've heard they have plans.

 No. 7 Rubik's-Cube-solving robot.

RuBot II is the world's fastest Rubik's Cube solving robot. With two cameras for eyes, RuBot II scans the cube before his pneumatic actuated arms solve it. He can usually solve the puzzle in less than 35 seconds. Will you be able to beat him?

 No. 8 Fly-consuming robot.

A robot that consumes flies and uses their consequential energy. The EcoBot II (ah, what a benign, non-threatening name) is fed flies into 12 sewage-based bacterial fuel cells, which break them down, digest them and use the electrons released as current. And we don't wanna hear no jibberjabber about how it's only a matter of time before these bots turn on their human masters, because if you're gonna go, what's so bad about being slowly digested in human feces by giant robot oppressors?

 No. 9 BIGDOG robot.

It looks like an actual biological quadruped. Seeing it climb through rubble, snow, jumping over obstacles like a wild goat and saving a near-fall on iced ground at the last second defies belief. It feels so "animal" that I almost feel bad when they hit it to demonstrate how it regains balance on its own.

The new version of the robot can now carry 340 pounds, which is almost triple the previous weight. It looks to me that that $10 million funding they got from DARPA has been put to good use.

No. 10 iCub

How do you make a creepy baby robot downright cute? Give it an Indian headdress and teach it to use the bow and arrow, of course. The same team of researchers who brought us the pancake-flipping robot arm have imbued this iCub with a learning algorithm that lets it teach itself archery much the same as a human might do by watching where the suction-tipped arrow lands and adjusting its aim for each subsequent shot, in this case obtaining a perfect bull's-eye after just eight attempts. Watch it for yourself after the break and ponder the fate of man: How can we possibly stop an uprising of adorable robots that never miss?