Robotic assistant makes you glad Siri is just a voice

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Nadine robotic assistant
Robotic assistant Nadine has the kind of face we can imagine only half-covering a soulless, plastic endoskeleton after the explosion failed to kill her.
Photo: Nanyang Technical University

Anyone who’s been wringing their hands in anticipation of the day we’ll each have a physical, robotic assistant to schedule our days and keep us company should be careful what they wish for because the future is here, and it is creepy.

“Nadine” comes from scientists at Nanyang Technical University in Singapore, and its face looks very similar to its creator’s, Professor Nadia Thalmann. But its terrifying, pruny hands come from somewhere else, like the nightmares we had when we were eight and watched director David Cronenberg’s version of The Fly even though our parents specifically told us not to.

You can see Nadine in action in the video below.

“Robotics technologies have advanced significantly over the past few decades and are already being used in manufacturing and logistics,” Thalmann said in December. “As countries worldwide face challenges of an aging population, social robots can be one solution to address the shrinking workforce, become personal companions for children and the elderly at home, and even serve as a platform for healthcare services in future.”

Digital assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon Echo’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Now have been all the rage lately, and putting that convenience and knowledge into a robot that you can actually talk to without speaking into your phone or watch like a lunatic holds some appeal. But we think inventors are more successful at this when they don’t try to create realistic humans because nobody’s been able to make one that doesn’t look like it’s one lightning strike short of activating its murder protocols.

We like cute robots like Aido, which is currently killing it on crowdfunding site Indiegogo because it looks like the biological offspring of Wall-E and Eve from the Pixar movie. Plus, Aido doesn’t have any weird hands with which it might be able to pick up a knife.

Thalmann and her colleagues are currently working on a more active, child-like robot that can play with kids, and we really, really hope it turns out as planned.

Via: Mirror

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  • Iain Woolf

    Loved the way this article was written. It brought a smile to my day. Thanks!

  • TJ

    “…nobody’s been able to make one that doesn’t look like it’s one lightning strike short of activating its murder protocols.” See, now I need a new keyboard. This is why we can’t have nice things…