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.

Robo-dog Santa sleigh will haunt your Christmas

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Ho, ho, horrifying?
Ho, ho, horrifying?
Photo: Boston Dynamics/YouTube

Robots are cool, but there are some things visionary engineers in the robotics field should not mess with – like eight tiny reindeer.

Boston Dynamics put their famous robotic dogs through another test – harnessing three Spot bots to a sleigh, pulling a waving Santa-like figure (not the real Santa, but a real person dressed as Mrs. Claus). The Google-owned company posted a video on YouTube of the prancing robo dogs, apparently showing the world once again that even the job of Rudolph can be replaced by a robot.

Japanese helper-bot is as adorable as it is ridiculous

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This guy has traded in his smartphone for a RoBoHon.
This guy has traded in his smartphone for a RoBoHon.
Photo: Sharp/YouTube

Now if Cupertino really wanted to make Siri something special, they would give her a head, arms and legs, and make her dance when she plays music.

Sharp Electronics has either jumped ahead of Apple or jumped the shark tank with an animated robotic smartphone called RoBoHon. It does everything your current smartphone does but with moving appendages, an adorable, futuristic face and a sweet voice to make it a very personable sidekick.

Architects behind Apple’s spaceship campus set their sights on Mars

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Foster + Partners want to take on Mars.
Foster + Partners want to take on Mars.
Photo: Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners is currently making a name for itself by designing Apple’s new spaceship campus and flagship stores, but once it’s done taking over Earth, the London-based architecture firm wants to help NASA create human colonies on Mars.

Norman Foster’s firm revealed its plans for a 93-square meter habitat that would be 3D printed from the loose soil and rocks on the the martian surface. The firm’s designs were shortlisted as a finalist for the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge hosted by NASA and America Makes.

This is the same architecture firm that designed Apple’s spaceship in Cupertino as well as most of the flagship Apple Store. While the structures presented in the Mars plan are vastly different from what Apple uses, it shows the kind of crazy ideas that go into modern architecture, some of which can be implemented in one way or another here on Earth.

Here’s how the firm says it would put 4 astronauts on the red planet: