This is not yet more than a working prototype, and its creators are keeping pretty vague about details, however we always admire a good DIY bartender. The Arduino-powered Inebriator can mix one of 15 drinks autonomously. After the alcohol is dispensed, the glass moves to add mixers which are stored in bottles in a cooler beneath the table. The clever inventors are working on the next generation and would like to add an ice hopper and stirring mechanism.
Popcorn Indiana mostly sells flavored popcorn and seems to have been fairly successful at this endeavor. Now they have teamed with an engineer simply named Ted who supposedly invented the Popinator. This automatic marvel of discovery will apparently shoot a piece to your mouth when you say the word "pop" from up to 15 feet away. We are not sure if this is actually real, remotely controlled or a clever PR tool. It certainly took a lot of practice to get the catching down. Still, we figured any video that gets over a million hits in less than a week deserves mention.
Velveeta's latest hero for their Shells & Cheese commercial is "that guy at the mall that sells the remote-control helicopter" They dig the dude so much that they set up an interactive site. We don't know if we share his taste in cheese food products, but we do admire his toys. Get yours!
The Vietnamese toymaker Tosy Robotics, maker of the eerie mRobo, recently debuted two entertainment bots at the IFA in Berlin, Germany. The $100.00 SketRobo can not only draw 200 pre-programmed images, but can also produce custom portraits. The next generation will have a built-in camera to take a picture of a human subject then reproduce it.
DiscoRobo dances to tunes, features coordinated facial expressions, and will carry a MSRP of $60.00. Both will be available to humans in 2013.
Ally Bank has been trying to use humor to bring in a few more bucks. Its last campaign featured a blender for a teller and the latest has a bot for its star. We admit it is a bit cheesy, but we had to share nonetheless.
DARPA and Boston Dynamics have been paired to create Big Dog and Cheeta robots for years now, the latter of which broke its own speed record of 18 mph by going 28.3 mph in a 20 meter split. As a reference, Usain Bolt set a human record in 27.78 mph in 2009. This is all very well and good, but we want to know, what's the rush?
We have seen robotic gardeners before but this takes it to the point of almost complete automation in a 200,000 sq. ft. building in San Marcos, CA. Katsumi Shigeta, president and CEO of Hokto-Kinoko Co., purchased Kinoko, a mushroom exporting company that went out of business. Four kinds of shrooms are produced with the aid of robot arms and a climate controlled environment. There are over 120 humans to assist in minor roles.
After maturation, the organic crop is sold locally since exporting would mean spraying them with pesticides. Kudos to Shigeta for choosing a local distribution process instead. If you are not quite sure what to do with a king trumpet or brown beech mushroom, Hokto-Kinoko gladly provides recipes. And you have to dig the commercial, even if it's not in English.
You can be part of a new robot project created by Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology if you own a Kinect. Alper Ayedemir and team are using them to create 3D models that will help teach robots knowledge of their surroundings. Kinect@Home utilizes the WebGL plug in to make recordings and add to the data base. Think of it as less playing with your Xbox and more of a contribution to the eventual robot takeover.
We never like to think that a doctor would freak before an operation, especially during childbirth. But for those practicing ob-gyn docs in the UK who have not yet performed caesarean sections comes Desperate Debra. This pregnancy simulator puts one in that very situation so that when the emergency comes, practice will make perfect. Pretty freaky...
Little by little, robotic chefs are taking over China and one of the latest is Chef Cui who specializes in noodle cutting. Designed by Cui Runquan, the chefbot is being mass produced with a reasonable price tag of $1,500. We call that a bargain since hiring a chef could cost $4,700 yearly. Runquan says that the upcoming generation aren't really into that task so with about 3,000 already sold, we expect that the robotic counterparts will pick up the slack. At least until those menacing yellow eyes turn red and they really start slicing.