Jerome Mack ran a company that made robotic tools. In 1998, his best friend died in a grain bin accident and he formed Mack Robots to make bots that could do the work. Last year the $15,000 - $17,000 Bin Bots began selling and were featured at this year's Minnesota Grain and Feed Association convention and trade show.
The service bot measures 6 x 2 feet, weighs 800 lbs. and can both fit through a grain bin door and is strong enough lift heavy buckets. It can be operated by a worker from outside with an optional video camera and lights.
Via Mack Robots
If you are fortunate to be able to access the Discovery Center Museum before May 6 you can visit Robots: The Interactive Exhibition in Rockford, IL. Based on the 2005 movie of the same name, you can meet Rodney Copperbottom and his Rustie friends and build a robotic probe on a touchscreen monitor. There are also exhibits like MIT's Leonardo and C3PO. Tickets are $4.00/person in addition to $7.00 general admission, $3.00/person for groups (in addition to group admission to the museum) and $2.00/person for members.
Robots are already becoming caretakers and there is no more evidence of this than in "Robot and Frank", a recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at last month's Sundance Film Festival. This award is given to films that "explore science and technology themes or that depict scientists, engineers and mathematicians in engaging and innovative ways." The film, directed by Jake Schreier and starring Frank Langella, concerns a man and the robot his children give him as a health care aide.
We also found another film, "The Meaning of Robots", a stop-motion robot sex film that took director Mike Sullivan 10 years to complete and became one of Sundance's Official Selections.
There seem to be an abundance of movies that feature robots and we keep coming across them, so of course we are going to encourage you to also enjoy the outdated effects and convoluted plots. This time we found "Making Mr. Right" from 2008 with John Malkovich as both a scientist and inventor of Ulysses, a robot made in his own image. Asimov is undoubtedly very restless in his grave right about now.
Check out this 1963 video from Muppeteer Jim Henson. He created it for Bell as a promotional tool to show the relationship of robots and humans (aka "Man and the Machine".) Recently discovered in AT&T's archives, Computer H14 may think he can do it all, but we know better.
This creature belongs under that category of the Uncanny Valley, the school of thought created by Dr. Masahiro Mori in a 1970 paper in the journal Energy. His thesis claims that when we see something lifelike we tend to empathize with it and then look at it with a disquieting sense that it is not, (in this instance its lack of skin.) We then accept it for what it is.
And if the above was not enough to spook you, here's another example. This is just so wrong in so many ways.
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.)
"Real Steel" has finally come out on Blu-ray for those of you who missed the Rock 'Em Sock 'Em film starring Hugh Jackman. Just think of it as "Rocky" on robotic steroids. Add to that a dysfunctional father/son relationship and you have an instant family viewing night.
If you want something G-rated and on the cheese ball side, "Short Circuit" was released in 1986 and stars Ally Sheedy and Steve Gutenberg. This was pre-CGI animation and consisted of a bot named Johnny 5, who was designed by Syd Mead of "Blade Runner" fame. Because he was voiced by his creator during filming, #5 sounded much more human than previous movie bots.
Take your basic rescue dog and pair it with a Snakebot and you get Carnegie Mellon and Ryerson University's answer to finding disaster survivors. The dog sniffs out humans and the snake deploys from a pack around his neck when he barks. The bot can then send back video to the operators. This video demonstrates both finding a human and the robotic snake's perspective.