These are our robot babies. They are not pretty or intelligent and they lack skin. But they are our robot babies nonetheless. Please show them love and kindness. Do not upset the robot babies, because their knowledge and experience may one day be transferable to a larger, more powerful robot grown-up. The robot grown-ups will have weapons for arms, and thick, gyrating tentacles for legs. Our punishments will be rendered by a jury of robots that review digital archives of how we treated the babies — the ugly, unfeeling, skinless babies — so please be nice.
Mar 18, 2018
I’ve never been much of a gadget blogger. My entries on The Verge’s Circuit Breaker have been met with sentiments ranging from “is this a joke?” to “I have difficulties getting your writing style” to “this is why I swiped left on you on Tinder,” which was deleted by the moderators.Read Article >
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t loved any gadgets in my time. For example, I love the PneuHound, a tiny robot dog built in the Hosoda Laboratory at Osaka University in 2016. I love my co-worker Lizzie Plaugic’s description of him, which was: “It runs frantically, but without moving very much at all. It shivers constantly. It slams its little dumb body into walls.”
Jan 23, 2018
A rolling stone gathers no moss, but a crawling baby picks up hella dirt — or, more specifically, a bunch of bacteria, dead skin cells, and maybe even some fungal spores. In order to better understand just how much of these gross particles babies are inhaling, researchers over at Purdue built a “simplified robot crawling infant.”Read Article >
This tinfoil-wrapped cyclops, spotted by Boing Boing, mashes its golf club-like — arms? — arms onto the floor to simulate how much dust a real baby would kick up. According to Purdue’s findings, which were published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, not only did this filth child stir up a cloud of nasty particles with a concentration as much as 20 times greater than geographically higher spots in a room, but baby bodies aren’t as well equipped to handle what they inhale. “For an adult, a significant portion of the biological particles are removed in the upper respiratory system, in the nostrils and throat,” says lead researcher Brandon Boor in a statement earlier this month.
Feb 8, 2017
The Nintendo Switch launch game 1-2-Switch will support a lot of head-scratching, “I didn’t know I wanted this until now” mini-games. One Reddit user discovered a treasure trove of mini-game videos uploaded to Nintendo’s Japanese YouTube Channel that include intuitively titled games such as “Wizard,” “Milk,” and “Shaver.”Read Article >
Lurking among these quirky, bite-sized games is a true horror show. Nintendo calls it “Baby.” I call it “A transportation pod to the ninth circle of hell.” I guess my name isn’t as catchy.
Jan 6, 2017
Good morning, it’s January 6th, 2017, and today we’re asking: will these bots ever fuck?Read Article >
As spotted by Brian Feldman, some enterprising soul has a set up a Twitch live stream that shows a pair of modified Google Home devices having a stilted, but determined, conversation. It’s not clear who started the stream (the why is obvious: it’s fun to watch and I’m learning a lot about social interactions), but a Twitter account for the stream named @seebotschat has been sharing observations from the pair since January 3rd.
Nov 3, 2016Read Article >
Cabbage Patch Kids released a doll this fall called Baby So Real. It’s marketed as the "most advanced baby ever" because it syncs up with an app and can exist digitally as well as physically. Kids can trigger different activities through touch, and the doll reacts with its LCD eyes. Baby So Real costs $99.99. I watched the doll’s instructional video and commercial to help piece together how to play with this thing. How does it make you feel?
Aug 16, 2016
Good news for people who love terrifying news: scientists have developed a soft-bodied robot octopus capable of propelling itself around underwater, wedging itself into tiny crevices between rocks, and (maybe one day) dragging swimmers to their doom so it can feast on their gooey insides. The prototype octo-bot is the work of the BioRobotics Institute at Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Pisa, Italy, and represents a victory for soft robotics — a fairly new field focused on the creation of squishy machines. For the rest of us, it's a baby Cthulhu.Read Article >
The robot is a major step in a program that began in 2009 to build a replica of an octopus, and was tested in the Mediterranean Sea earlier this year. In addition to being weird, unknowable nightmare creatures, the Institute's octo-bots mimic real octopi in other ways. The prototype tested in the waters of the Mediterranean can draw in liquid and expel it, farting itself along at speed, or use its eight legs to crawl over rocks on the sandy sea bed. Those tentacles can bend in any direction, gripping objects, limbs, or (potentially) human throats from anywhere.
Jul 13, 2016
We live in an age with no shortage of robot animals — they seem to multiply like little unstable rabbits, except they're hardly ever rabbits — but none have proven themselves quite so relatable as this one. This is PneuHound, and while its name doesn't quite slide off the tongue, its body is definitely doing some sliding... whenever it tries to move in any way at all. Haha, same!Read Article >
As Gizmodo points out, PneuHound (or PH, as I will refer to him from here on out to indicate an intimate relationship) was built at Hosoda Laboratory at Osaka University, and it's much smaller than other robot dogs, like Boston Dynamics' SpotMini. But I'm not interested in PH's size, although its lack of bulk does contribute to its overall aesthetic, which could be described as "clumsy but lovable idiot."
Jul 13, 2016
Robots might be cheaper to employ than humans, but it seems they still need to work on their people skills. Last week, a robot security guard at the Stanford Shopping Center in Silicon Valley knocked down a toddler while on duty and then apparently just kept on driving. A report from local news channel ABC7 says the bot hit 16-month-old Harwin Cheng, knocking him to the floor.Read Article >
Cheng was not seriously hurt by the incident, but we're still going to chalk this up as a violation of Isaac Asimov's first law of robotics: "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." Here's ABC7's story:
Jun 23, 2016Read Article >
One notable change: the 'bot can now be equipped with an elongated neck, which it shows off in a demonstration by helpfully picking up a glass and putting it in the dishwasher. Cute, and functional:
Jun 22, 2016
Dear friends and loved ones,Read Article >
This is my son Klav. As you can see, he is beautiful. Thank goodness, because I am emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted from delivering Klav into the world. It took forever, plus however long it takes to read "What is Code?"
Jun 2, 2016
This is a synthetic dog. I named him Chez, because it is a beautiful name, and he is a beautiful dog. Look how his eyes sparkle while he's strapped to a steel veterinary school operating table, his muscular arms raised above his head, fake blood flowing out of his never-sentient body. His tongue, flapped to one side, resembles a red flag on a suburban mailbox.Read Article >
What can I say about Chez that hasn't already been said? He is an anatomically correct canine replica created by SynDaver Labs. The company recently launched an Indiegogo campaign so Chez could be a permanent replacement for the shelter dogs often used for surgical training in veterinary schools. His body looks like uncooked bacon.
Jan 8, 2013Read Article >
The University of California, San Diego has been working on its robot baby for a few years now, but the first video of the faux infant has finally emerged. The Machine Perception Lab at UCSD created Diego-san in coordination with Kokoro and Hanson Robotics to better understand the cognitive development of children. The end result is incredibly intricate: the body contains 44 pneumatic joints. In fact, the head alone contains 27 individual moving parts. The face is especially detailed — even if it is somewhat unsetlling — with Diego-san able to mimic a wide variety of expressions. The video below will give you a good idea of the unnatural faces that the robot baby can produce — just don’t watch it right before you to bed.
Jul 26, 2012
Finally, Osaka University’s infant robot Affetto is able to hug you like a real baby, with the added benefit of paralyzing you with terror. A year and a half ago, Affetto wasn’t much more than a face, but a video from the university’s Asada Laboratory discovered by Plastic Pals shows a newly-limbed and skinless Affetto using his newfound freedom to swing his arms around. Things get even more unsettling around the 40 second mark, when Affetto gets draped in a grey hoodie, before finally having his face returned to him. The improvements to the robot include 20 pneumatic actuators, which allow him to freely move his arms, neck, and spine.Read Article >
The project falls under the umbrella of "cognitive developmental robotics," which uses robotics to study human development — in particular, the interplay between caregivers and developing babies. The laboratory’s site explains, "interacting with the environment and people nearby is an important factor in development. In order to create the same conditions as with a real child, we’re developing a child robot that’s the same size, with a soft body, rich facial expressions, and small hands."