Someone is Working on a Scarlett Johansson Robot

scarlettWell, this is one of those articles where I am just going to link back to a previous article, specifically the one about Sophia the robot lady. Seriously, if you were running this blog like me, you wouldn’t possibly use anything else.

If you recall that article, it was about someone who had built a robot that looked like a generic female. Granted, an attractive female, but I guess if you are gong to make a female robot like in Metropolis, you might as well make it pretty. However, this man, Ricky Ma, created a robot that looks like Scarlett Johansson.

So far, he has got the robot to giggle, wink, and flirt with him. At this point, it is difficult for me not to judge. Yes, I think Scarlett Johansson was pretty in films like The Avengers and Lucy, but if I was creating a robot specifically to look like any specific person, how many people would think that I was healthy?

I have an interesting quote from Ricky Ma that says: “when I was a child, I liked robots. I like watching animation. I figured I should just do it when the timing is right and realize my dream. If I realize my dream, I will have no regrets in life.”

He also said that “during the process, a lot of people would ask things like ‘are you stupid?'” This actually talked a lot of money at $50,000. Again, this man apparently has no regrets, and I am honestly not certain how much I can judge on this one.

The source of my article says that Scarlett Johansson played a robot in Her, but this is terribly incorrect, as she played an operating system voice. If you’ve read my review on Her, then you will see that this is a good way to conclude this article, because it discusses the possibility of humans having realtionships with an artificial intelligence. It didn’t end so well, and this might not either, however, perhaps this is just a reminder that I shouldn’t judge, again.


Someone is inventing Sophia the robot lady, why do we need this again?

Robot LadyWell, this robot looks like something right out of Ex Machina, complete with the plastic dome on the head. I should probably get around to seeing that speculative fiction film for Speculative Fiction Saturday, but perhaps I don’t have to with this.

This is Dr. David Hanson’s Sophia, and it is inspired by Audrey Hepburn and Hanson’ wife Sophia. Sophia’s skin is made from silcone, and she has cameras in her eyes so she can “see” other people.

You know how Watson can talk and win on Jeopardy? Well, Sophia can also speak and respond, remembering facial expressions and having some of her own.

There is a drawback. Apparently, my Source has a video where someone asks Sophia if she wants to take control of all humans, and she agreed, jokingly, I think.

Okay, so now here comes a question that I just have to ask. Why does anyone want a robot like this? I mean, is there not enough humans in the world that we can talk to? I thought the goal was to make robots that we want to do work we hate, do we need to give them sentience so they can complain about it?

Unless you want to create a robot that you can love…and…ewww! Isn’t the whole point of love based on that you don’t have control over the other person, or am I just being old-fashioned.


AVERT allows flat robots to move your car

One of the reasons why I started this tech and gadget blog is because I wanted to report on very neat things. I couldn’t think of anything more cool than some flat robots that can move cars.

The AVERT, which stands for Autonomous Vehicle Emergency Recovery Tool, is a system that is designed primarily for law enforcement. It starts with this main robot that can autonomously map a parking lot inside a crowded garage, and then deploys a lot of smaller robots that can roll underneath another vehicle. These flat robots go underneath the wheels, and then lift it barely an inch off the ground so it can move it.

The whole point of this is so the robots could remove a car or other vehicle that might be carrying explosives or something. This way, the robots do all the work and don’t endanger any humans. Clearly, this has other uses, like removing vehicles that just down belong, for example. Yes, this power could be abused, and I’m not looking forward to an era where these tiny robots roll out every time a car parks illegally.


Amazon is ready for the holiday with their Kiva robots

What you are going to see in the video above is some robots at work. As far as I know, and what my Source reveals, this video pretty much shows what looks like at Amazon. Amazon bought Kiva Systems, presumably so the world’s biggest bookstore could have a way to move all of its merchandise around into packages.

These robots go about the floor and then they lift stacks of merchandise to the warehouse workers so they can wrap them up and ship them to you. As someone who used to work in a warehouse, this could really help. I guess maybe I understand the process of ordering and stuff. What, you think you just click on something and it just comes to you?

Personally, I think this is another one of those signs that we live in a science-fiction age. Is it odd that there is a “human exclusion zone” around these robots that sounds like something out of a dystopian science-fiction novel.

Anyway, these robots can travel 12 miles a day, and stop only 5 minutes per hour for recharge. Yes, Amazon is completely ready for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and all the days in between until Christmas.


Keecker, the “World’s First HomePod” is more R2D2

keeckerIf you are wondering what a HomePod is, then I would have to say that you are not alone. Pierre Lebeau is a man who didn’t like “another rectangle”, but a very interesting computer that goes with you.

This is the Keecker which works as a projector, sound system, webcam, not to mention a home monitoring system. Lebeau’s design was something more “warmer, organic, and natural”. This plastic orb is 11 inches wide and 16 inches long, and it roams around thanks to a pair of wheels.

So let me get this straight: you invented a robot that roams around on wheels, and can project anything, anywhere. You do realize that there was a certain star of Star Wars who could essentially do the same thing. That’s right, Pierre Lebeau’s Keecker is just R2D2. All it needs is some kind of personality.

Well, Keecker is a Kickstarter project, and its creator wanted $100,000. It made its goals, and the planned price is about $4,000.


Jibo, the robot we have all been waiting for

jiboI admit that I saw the Jibo a few weeks ago, and I just ignored it. Then I saw from my Source article what Jibo actually was, and I couldn’t help but be impressed by it.

Jibo is essentially a Siri or Google Voice with a head. Granted, its head is some weird triple jointed thing that is nothing but an eye. I have a difficult time describing it, so I just recommend going to the jump and watching the video.

From what I can tell, Jibo is the cute robot companion that keeps showing up in science-fiction movies. Imagine something that reads your text messages while your hands are busy, or just replaying your phone messages. It will also take photos of you, as it tracks faces at parties.

Just watch the video, and if you don’t see the potential of it, then you need to imagine harder. It has already met it’s Indiegogo goals with over a million in funds, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be a Jibo in every home in the next few years.

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Robots serve as guides at Tokyo Museum

Robot maidIf you head to Tokyo, you can see some seriously freaky real robots at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. They are Kodomoroid (“child robot”) and Otonaroid (“adult robot”) and they are positioned to introduce you to the world of robots.

I am told that these robots move their realistic lips to a voice-over, and they have all the human “tells”. For example, they blink, twitch, and occasionally sway from side to side. Just think of them as robot newscasters.

Personally, I thought this idea of robot newscasters sounds great, and reminds me of Batman Beyond. Yeah, there is a lot of speculative fiction references that I can make here. In fact, Japanese robotics expert Hiroshi Ishiguro says that he hopes that “making androids is about exploring what it means to be human”. I can’t help but be reminded of Tyrell from Blade Runner, when he talks about “more human than human”.

Source 1 and Source 2

Performance Art piece has flying drones

I have reported a lot on drones for this particular blog, and I found this particular video with AscTec Hummingbird drones being used with dancers, and I am surprised that I haven’t seen more like it.

After all, performance art is all about dancing and doing weird stuff, right? Why not have a dance done with a little bit of flying robots with pyramids on them? Apparently it takes 10 to 15 motion capture cameras to make certain this effect work.

By the way, there is a weird effect at the end with lasers or something. It looks like something you would see in the drones’ control booth.


Someone invented a robot that can catch!

I’m sure that you are probably seeing this headline and thinking: “Okay, someone invented a robot that can play catch.” If you aren’t thinking “so what” after that, I don’t blame you.

Let’s start with the facts. This is from Ecole Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), and it is a robot arm with good reaction time, and has cameras to figure out the path of a flying object so it can snatch it.

So here is the “so what”. Not only does this robot catch, but the purpose is to teach robots when to catch. In other words, someone is teaching robots to have reflexes. This means that you can teach a robot to react while driving, you know, in case you ever want to do that.

This is actually kind of interesting. I think that it is interesting that humans can be taught to react to a catching ball. I can’t but wonder if we really can’t teach a robot to think like a human.

I’m pretty certain we all thought this couldn’t be done. Well, our science fiction books taught us this, didn’t it? Maybe we can to teach our robots to think.


SociBot-Mini puts a 3D face on a robot

on8fj6thmgmismaizhhjI believe that telepresence is going to be big as we get further in this digital age. If you are not familiar with telepresence, it is a way of putting a camera on a robot that you can move around, so the boss is always on the scene.

The SociBot-Mini could be the latest thing in telepresence, but there is no moving body involved. This is just a bust of a statue that you can put a face on, literally. It has a head-mounted RGB camera, infrared depth sensor, two-way audio system, and a touchscreen interface. This amounts to a Kinect-like device that allows you to put a face on a statue-like head.

Okay, I am not certain what to think about this. I think it is good that we have the technology to see someone’s facial expressions, but do we really want to? It does look kind of creepy, doesn’t it?

Well, for all I know, this could be the wave of the future. This is currently a Kickstarter campaign and I would imagine that will easily get its money’s worth.