In this economy, a job is a job. And while we await the day that we can hire our robot companions to handle our household duties, humanoid semi-celeb Geminoid-F is exploring other possibilities at a Takashimaya department store in Tokyo. Here, Geminoid is blazing a trail for androids everywhere by taking a job in a storefront window to see how the humans passing by respond.
The latest Geminoid robot is one of the most realistic, and thus creepiest, android we've ever seen. The skin, hair, goatee (!), and facial expressions are real enough to fool you for a few seconds while it sinks in that something very, very weird is going on.
Most robots covered on this site push the envelope of technology, by working in space or eerily replicating flesh-and-blood humans. But for Sam Todo, a student in the Togolese Republic in Africa, robotics is a way to put the outdated technology found in the garbage to new, innovative uses. In this video, Todo displays a humanoid robot he created almost entirely from discarded TV parts.
Just a few blocks away from CES, at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, innovation took a different form as the world's first commercially available life-sized AI robotic girlfriend enjoyed her big coming out party.
The ease and variety of online shopping enabled by the first dot-com explosion cast technology as the killer of in-store retail. But in Japan, with its aging population and unique consumer culture, technology facilitates grocery shopping, in the form of retail assistance robots like Robovie-II. Part of a larger network of sensors and wireless devices, Robovie provides assistance to elderly shoppers making their rounds.
Whether they are assisting the elderly, or simply popping human skulls like ripe fruit, robots aren't usually known for their light touch. And while this may be fine as long as they stay relegated to cleaning floors and assembling cars, as robots perform more tasks that put them in contact with human flesh, be it surgery or helping the blind, their touch sensitivity becomes increasingly important.
Adding a new wrinkle to the 'droid versus iPhone debate, a project at Keio University in Tokyo have created iPhone software specifically designed to control androids. More specifically, they've created an interface that puts control of a humanoid robot right at your fingertips.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.