"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." ~A. Kay
#4. Development and production of artificial human companions—The forbidden industry. An economic “godsend” which will allow everyone “power” over someone else. Polite, sophisticated, technologically feasible slavery. And the most profitable industry since T.V. and the computer. ~Anton Szandor LaVey
Artificial Human Companions could be called by a few different names… Automotons, Androids, Robots, etc. I’ve been a fan of robots since an early age and like most kids of my generation, I was amazed by Science Fiction “Droids”. I often wished that I could have a robot of my own one day like those shown in the movies. Well, those days are soon approaching, and I’ve been keeping watch on the advances of robotic technology, thanks to the internet. I’d like to share with you some of my favorite videos of robotics.
Automotons have been around for hundreds of years, and the first robot was created in the 18th century. You may be surprised to learn that NASA has been conducting Android Tests since the 1960s, using these early model androids to test space suits:
Not surprising is the fact that Boston Dynamics has been developing an android called PETMAN to test Chemical Warfare clothing, and one day be the soldier of the future. This video shows a few of their military model robots.
The world’s most advanced humanoid robot is ASIMO developed by Honda, able to perform various amazing tasks, such as run at 9km/h and hop on one leg.
The most realistic looking moving android is HRP-4C developed by Yamaha.
The HRP-C uses advanced voice technology to not only speak like we do, but can sing:
The Actroid-F developed by AIST is even more realistic looking than the HRP-4C, but it is immobile. It does not walk like the HRP-4C or ASIMO, but it is still quite impressive to look at.
Hanson Robotics has developed Jules, an android much like the Actroid-F, in which it has a highly expressive face, but it not yet capable of independent mobility. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elVdiboCa80
Zeno is a smaller android also developed by Hanson Robotics that is mobile, and is geared toward commercial availability.
Nao developed by Aldebaran is another mini android being produced for commercial availability. This model is not as human looking as the others, but it still could make a nice companion to a Sci Fi fanatic like me.
The CB2 is an infant android developed by JST ERATO Asada Project and Kokoro Co. Ltd. to study the growth of Cognitive-development in a child’s mind.
DLR Biped developed by the German Aerospace Center’s Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics is making advances in gyroscopic balancing for walking androids. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teri9muJnTk&NR=1
Hopefully in the near future of all this Robotic Technology will be a sleeker, more humanoid looking android, much like this Photo-realistic Animation of The Eve 1138 Android.
For now, I am glad that all these advances in robotic technology are being applied to help advance our medical science, such as allowing amputees to regain feelings in lost limbs.
Finally, I’d like to close with one of my favorite robotics videos, a nice little short featuring the ASIMO robot again, that puts a nice positive perspective on the idea of “Living With Robots”