Saturday, August 05, 2006

Robot Roundup

Scientists across the globe are making tremendous leaps in robot technology. Japanese electronics manufacturer Hitachi recently unveiled its new robot-on-wheels EMIEW, shown here demonstrating its ability to work as a bellman at a Tokyo hotel.

Japan's biggest toymaker, Bandai Co., announced on Thursday it will soon be selling the 4-foot-high, 77-pound Mobile Suit Gundam. Based on a popular Japanese cartoon, this charming robot can roar and blink its eyes and will surely delight its largely adult male fan base when it becomes available this Christmas.

During his recent visit to the United States, British Prime Minister Tony Blair had the opportunity to talk with a "Health Robot" during a tour of Cisco Systems headquarters in San Jose, California. The mechanical healthcare provider, currently being tested at five hospitals worldwide, allows doctors to consult with patients in remote areas through a broadband wireless connection.

Meanwhile in Beijing, scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences are currently testing an unnamed female robot that its inventors claim can speak Sichuan, respond to human voices and act as a receptionist and museum tour guide.

And finally, in Washington D.C., American scientists are road-testing a device affectionately known as the Dickbot. While the robot is programmed to sneer and raise its left arm in a reasonable facsimile of a warm greeting, scientists agree they still need to work on the robot's human qualities. Scientists are quick to point out, however, that the Dickbot has still been able to collect millions of dollars at GOP fundraisers, despite the fact that two-thirds of Americans dislike him intensely.

The Dickbot is shown here "waving" to supporters of Senate candidate Tom Kean Jr. at a fundraiser in Newark, N.J. last March.

No comments: