Elektro, a robot built by Westinghouse in 1937, was a star at the World’s Fair in 1939-40. Photo: Courtesy of Scott Schaut/Mansfield Memorial Museum
America’s oldest surviving robot no longer smokes cigarettes.
Long lines of people no longer wait to see him, topless women haven’t danced around him in years and his legs have been broken since that amusement park gig.
But Elektro is home now, his head reunited with his body, cared for by a man named Scott Schaut, who is so fiercely protective that museum requests to borrow the gold robot usually end with him replying “over my dead body.”
Google-owned robotics firm Boston Dynamics is no stranger to creating robotic beasts that can do freakish feats, but their latest robotic quadruped — a 160-pound doglike machine named Spot — takes the crazy factor to an all new level with a smaller, nimbler, more-kickable form factor.
To be perfectly honest, Spot scares the hell out of me. When Elon Musk warned about the possibility of humans becoming slaves to AI, this is what I imagined — legions of weird-looking robots that can go anywhere to hunt you down and put you in your place. Spot doesn’t feature any futuristic weapons to punish his human masters, but the cybernetic canine has some serious skills when it comes to exploring difficult terrain and balancing.
If you don’t think the robot threat is real, here are six GIFs of Spot in action that might change your mind:
It looks like Apple manufacturer Foxconn may not be entirely ready to displace its human workforce in favor of robots just yet.
According to a new report coming out of the Taiwanese media, Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou is disappointed by the company’s current generation of so-called “Foxbots,” which supposedly fell short of expectations in terms of both proficiency and flexibility.
Gabe Ibañez directs and Antonio Banderas stars in this gritty, realistic near-future sci-fi flick, Automata.
The premise is that, in 2004, robots have found a way to circumvent built-in Protocols against harming human beings or self-altering their own physical form.
The award-winning film looks to be a fantastic take on the robots-gone-wild sub-genre, and it’s got Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men) as a rogue killer robot and Melanie Griffith as a scheming politician; what’s not to like?
Yesterday, we reported that Foxconn CEO Terry Gou had promised shareholders that the Chinese iPhone manufacturer was ready to deploy an army of 10,000 robots to help build the iPhone 6.
But while that report seems accurate, don’t expect these so-called Foxbots to completely replace humans on the assembly line. As it turns out, the iPhone 6 is going to require way too much finesse to assemble for a mere robot to do it all.
For years now, Foxconn has been expressing its interest in replacing its workers with robots, raising the possibility that future iPhones could be built with machines. In fact, in December of 2012, Foxconn quietly began testing a program to replace human workers with iPhone-building robots.
But now, it appears that Foxconn is hitting the accelerator on the program. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has just told shareholders that they will be deploying some 10,000 “Foxbots” to start building iPhones soon.
Love these stylish modular solutions for your ever-changing work space: You can turn these into desk risers, shelves and stools.
As warmer weather hits even San Francisco, we’re pooling our beer money for a robot bartender. And some wasabi-flavored toothpicks. Our ever-expanding crew could use some of these modular Modos bookshelves and stools, too. There are so many things on Kickstarter that we want — jeans, maps, comic books — that we’re sharing our wish list with you.
Even cranky futurist Jaron Lanier supports Kickstarter — it “turns consumers into a priori funders of innovation” and we’re pretty sure that translates into robotic cocktails for everyone.
Tim Cook just did something odd: he allowed another company to take the stage right off the bat to explain cool things people can do with iOS devices, artificial intelligence and robotics.
Boris Sofman, founder of ANKI, showed off ANKI Drive, remote control cars that connect to your iPhone via Bluetooth 4.0 and can drive themselves around a course while automatically detecting the other drivers, motions of the track, etc.
Kind of like Google’s self-driving cars, but for children. The reaction from the audience wasn’t that great, and the demo sort of failed, but you can see the possibility: iOS devices acting as the brains for real life robots.
It’s a small, fun demo, but it’s more about the possibilities here. Everything you love about video games imbued in real objects, or artificial intelligences being powered by iPhones.
You like robots? You’re gonna love this. This is an iPad app all about robots. Just robots, nothing but robots, loads and loads and loads of robots. It’s made of robots, in the same way we are made of meat. It’s fantastic.