Today, at Germany's first-ever trade fair dedicated to the wonders of doner kebab, new technology was unveiled that promises to change street-meat forever more: FFDR-V1004, the doner robot.
Doner kebab is the familiar dish, Turkish in origin but ubiquitous in Germany, of meat grilled on a vertical rotating spit and sliced off upon request. (It's kin to Greek gyros and Middle Eastern shawarma.) Until now, though, the slicing of the meat has been performed by the clumsy hands of humans.
A musician has harnessed the power of two Nintendo Wiimotes to become a cyborg percussionist with the robo-band Jazari. His playing of one drum machine can evoke an automated response from another, so that he can go around the drum circle in a beautiful display of human-robot improvisation.
In the name of science and sport -- and presumably to highlight its sponsorship role in the 2010 FIFA World Cup -- motor oil company BP Castrol constructed this massive auto-engine-powered kicking 'bot that can boot a soccer ball past (or through) goalies at a whopping 128 miles per hour.
One of America's strangest mating rituals, the chest-puffing, squeaking dance of the sage grouse, is getting closer attention, thanks to a pretty little fembot.
The sage grouse, which is sort of like a more interesting type of chicken, has long captivated scientists as well as tourists because, of its elaborate mating habits. A group of researchers have infiltrated the grouse world using a custom-designed "fembot" -- a robotic bird on wheels with a camera nestled in her breast.
Using an air jet to make a ball appear to levitate is an old physics lab trick; the air rushing around the ball traps it in a low-pressure pocket. But guiding "floating" balls through an obstacle course of hoops, making asymmetrical objects like apples and water bottles float as carefree as perfect spheres, or launching balls across a room with precision accuracy? That's impressive.
Not since RoboCop has being a cyborg seemed so very cool. University of Chicago geoscientists are developing an artificial intelligence system that future Mars explorers could incorporate into their spacesuits to help them recognize signs of life on Mars' barren surface.
While it lacks the subtle charm of Alberto Tomba, this robot is just as much at ease flying down a slalom course. Designed by Bojan Nemec of the the Jozef Stefan Institute in Slovenia, the robot utilizes two computers to stay upright and pointed downhill.
The rescue robot with a teddy head has gone through nine different prototypes on its way to becoming a rugged battlefield medic for the U.S. military. Now new prototypes of BEAR can lift a quarter of a ton, while balancing gracefully on their treads.
Vecna Robotics hopes that BEAR (Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot) can eventually find and rescue humans in any number of hazardous situations, ranging from bullet-torn battlefields to chemical accident sites and earthquake-damaged buildings.