Check out PBS' Nova Science Now November 14, 10:00 pm ET to see "What Will the Future Be Like?", a study of robots, 3D machines, thought controlled video games and more. David Pogue hosts the encore video event and you will undoubtedly find both familiar and unfamiliar ideas created by scientists and engineers.
Just as Spielberg showed a shark's eye view in Jaws (because the mechanized one kept breaking,) you can get a view from a Roomba. During "Breaking Bad," season 4, episode 2, the bot makes its way past partygoers in Jesse Pinkman's (Aaron Paul) house. If you get a chance to view the entire episode, you will see a quick odd cameo from actor/producer Bryan Cranston (Walter White) in a full head of hair and beard. We love this show!
If you could take a much-beloved movie robot and commercialize the heck out of it, how would you do it? Well, you could turn it into a Limited Edition Star Wars Xbox 360 Bundle. Add to it custom R2-D2 sounds and the game Star Wars with C-3PO as an unlockable character in Dance mode. Also included is the Adventures game, 320GB hard drive, a wired headset, controller and the first white sensor. May the gaming force be with you.
Check out Harry's Law latest airing as it featured the use of mini-drones to spy on people in the U.S., a topic that we wrote about last month. Anyone who watches primetime knows that writers like to pepper episodes with a smattering of facts tossed in for effect. Catch last nite's episode on NBC's site.
Japan's Gundam Mini-Theme Park is finally opening its doors April 19 at Diver City Tokyo. The giant Mobile Suit RX-78 will find a permanent home there as well as a dome theater for showing videos, photo ops and displays. The entire park measures about 2,000 sq. meters and includes some Bandai gift shops and café. Adults admission is ¥$1,000 (~$23.00) and ¥800 (~10.00) for kids.
As long as we are on the subject of oversized toy robots, this commercial came on at the end of the Super Bowl and guess who its biggest star was?
Sadly, Dick Tufeld, the voice of the robot (the actor was Bob May) in the TV series "Lost in Space" died Sunday, Jan. 22 at the age of 85. Still, we are fortunate to always have him with us when watching some of the old TV shows or movie. He was even featured in a 1998 documentary with John Larroquette, Will Robinson and Dr. Smith. And he is immortalized in toys as a Remote Control Replica turns, moves forward and back, and will keep on repeating "Danger, Will Robinson" forever (or until his batteries need replacing.)
If you can remember as far back as the 60s, then you will appreciate film director Bryan Barber's acquiring the rights to the cartoon Gigantor. Here's a refresher if you don't. A young lad's father creates a huge robot as a flying weapon but the boy bonds with it and uses it in peaceful ways.
Barber tracked the rights to an aging Fred Ladd, who owned the Japanese language cartoon and adapted it for English speakers. Considering that the run of Transformer movies are never-ending and with the recent big bucks from Real Steel, Barber may have a hit on his hands. He says the live action film will be "Transformers meets Goonies."
You know that the holidays will soon be upon us when new toys start to appear, including the latest Let's Rock Elmo. The Sesame St. muppet certainly has evolved and now comes with a microphone, tambourine and drum set, and sings 6 different songs. This will be one of the hot toys this season, so shop early.
Note that Hasbro also wants your kids to play along with separately sold Let's Rock Guitar, Keyboard and Mic , but you can save those for birthdays.
Last week, General Hospital brought back James Franco to reprise his roll as the sinister villain of the same last name. Not only did he ham it up with an obnoxious monkey, he featured an assortment of Kikkerland wind-ups like the MxyKikker shown here that were supposedly embedded with cameras. Yeah, we always knew they were toys to die for!
Back in February, Watson beat out Jeopardy champs and his keepers decided his next move would be Med School. Teaming with the University of Maryland, software developer Nuance and Columbia UMC, the computer "learned' about anatomy, conditions and symptoms to help diagnose patients' illnesses. Dr. Eliot Siegel, the team's head, says they will use Watson as a sort of "safety check" to determine if proper care and medicines have been prescribed. Yeah, he ought to stay in the background as he probably doesn't have much of a bedside manner.
Note: If you are a Watson fan and watched him on Jeopardy, PBS' Nova presented "The Smartest Machine on Earth" this month. It discussed computer learning and how IBM prepared him for his TV debut, including auditions. This is a must see for anyone into A.I. and you can still watch it online.
Will.i.am, using his power of celebrity, backed a star-studded TV special last night that explored the 20th annual FIRST Robotics Championship. ABC aired "i.am.FIRST: Science Is Rock and Roll" and the singer supported it because "Most kids are not dreaming of being programmers, scientists or engineers. The ones that are do not get the spotlight or attention. Instead, they are looked at as geeks or uncool, when in actuality technology is the only thing that is cool today."
If you have never seen the remake of The Stepford Wives, this is the time. They don't just lobotomize these women, they turn them into ATM machines. ("She gives singles." Matthew Broderick quips.) There is a puppybot Rover 3000 and Mike, the head of the group, played by Christopher Walken, gets his name from his former place of employment, Microsoft. I don't want to give too much away but you are going to love this ending if you were not satisfied with the one in the first Stepford.