Posts Tagged: ‘robots’

Today’s episode is a brief survey of some of the world’s earliest precursors to today’s fanciest robots. The devices we have in mind aren’t necessarily programmable – although some of them are – but they do represent inventors’ first breakthroughs in the realm of mechanical beings. These automata write, they walk, they play the flute … and they poop.

Tags: , ,

As listeners to the podcast probably know, I spent part of my childhood in Newfoundland, Canada. My fam only lived there for three years, but I must have watched a lot of TV in that time. Heck, I guess I watched a lot of TV the first two decades of my life. We only had the one channel of CBC to watch in the little town of Roddickton, but it introduced me to such treasures as Duran Duran’s homoerotic, post-apocalyptic (and awesome) “Wild Boys” video and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

And then there were these distinctly Canadian gems…

Tags: , ,

It’s another listener request, and one that languished on the board so long that I’ve lost track of who requested it. What we learned from this: There are so, so many fictional robots. Far too many for one episode.

Tags: ,

Thanks to modern technology, you no longer have to turn yourself inside out to travel the cramped tunnels of your own digestive track. Just swallow a pill-shaped camera-bot, grab a bowl of pop corn, then just sit back and watch the bot traverse the 39-foot highway that is your guts. So join Julie and I as they look into the world of capsule endoscopy – which in turn take a look inside the world of us.

Tags: , ,

So I think this bit of fan mail from our listener John sets up this week’s episodes rather nicely: “Listening to Robots podcast and y’all keep mentioning Roombas, and I know you are cat people. We on a Skeptical Listserve were discussing Roombas last month, and a participant mentioned that a friend of his had a Roomba and a Cat. The cat crapped on the carpet, and the Roomba not-so-helpfully tracked the feces all over the house.”

Tags: , ,

What’s that buzzing around the room? A bird? A plane? Nope, it’s just a robotic insect sent by some shadow government to spy on our every move. Yes, welcome to the age of the microdrone. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I check in on the current state of militarily drone technology, the rise of biomimetic bird-bots and just how the future may shake out.

Tags: , ,

Well I’m all grown up now.

Yes, Julie and I have discussed the reality and inevitability of sexbots before on the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast and now Chinese developers have created sperm-collecting robots designed to stimulate human males and collect their genetic material. As you’ll see in the following video, the whole thing looks like one of Doctor Who’s Daleks, except with an unsettling-looking apparatus on the front instead of a death ray. The things debuted at China International Medical Equipment Fair in Shenzhen, China last month. Let’s watch:

Tags: , , ,

As we covered in a previous episode, robots can now be programmed to deceive other robots and even humans. But did you know they can also be programmed to approximate something like guilt? Julie and I consult with Dr. Ronald Arkin of the Georgia Institute of Technology on teaching bots how to process like humans.

And yes, we will also talk about sexy, sexy sexbots — machines crafted through our ingenuity to appeal to our most basic cravings. We’ve all heard of the notorious Roxxxy. What does it mean to have feelings for a machine, ethically? Dr. Arkin weighs in and even goes so far as to declare Roxxxy a “bad robot.” And not in the naughty sense. In the crappy sense.

Tags: , , ,

Imagine that you are an inventor. You have been working for six months on your latest, greatest creation. You run to your spouse and shout, “Honey, I’ve done it! Come watch!” And your spouse sees this demonstration: It is amazing and cool. Also mysterious – how can the thing pick up mayonnaise like it is […]

Tags: , , ,

How much dexterity and control does a doctor have when using a surgical robot? You can get a sense of it by watching this video, where the doctor folds a paper airplane using the remote manipulation system of a da Vinci surgical robot: Here is what the da Vinci surgical robot looks like from the […]

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Recent Postings by Category