Really? You Call That a Robot?

By Derek Clark
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

I have to admit, as a fan of robots, I’m a little disappointed with the latest crop on display at this year’s CES. Sure, there were a few helpful devices for those who don’t like to vacuum or do windows, but where are all the humanoid autonomous robots I was promised when I was a kid – when I cried myself to sleep, praying for a little robot buddy that would understand me and never make fun of my He-Man collection like my butt-head older brother. Oh roboticists of the world, when will I hear those geek-melting words “Number 5 is alive!”

Now, I’m no expert in robotics (unless we’re including break dancing skills), but Stephen Hawking Christ! Last I checked it’s 2011 already! I think we can do better.

Really, Murata? The best you could do was a female robot on a unicycle? Isn’t that just a tiny Segway in a miniskirt? Sorry, but if you’re going to label something as ‘female’ then there’d better be a way for me to have sex with it. (If there is, then please disregard my sarcasm… and call me.)

Really, iRobot? I mean, thanks for the improved vacuum cleaners, but excuse me if I don’t do cartwheels over your iPad on wheels, AVA. Come on, the least you could’ve done was given it some arms so I could program it to fetch me a beer.

Really, Intuitive Automata? A Teddy Ruxpin on Weight Watcher’s? Unless your doe-eyed Autom can shout names at me like ‘Jabba the Pizza Hut’ or ‘Geekopotamus’ while holding a mirror to my face, chances are, I’m not putting down that bacon sandwich.

Really, PARO? You couldn’t even give your robotic baby seal a new buddy, like Nanook the Inuit seal clubber? (Oh, stop gasping. Don’t tell me you didn’t think the same thing when you saw that cute little critter. No? Okay, moving on…)

Really, ATR and VStone? You want me to pay $41,000 for a robot to walk my grandma across the street? No thanks. I’m pretty sure that leash I put on her car-hating kitty will see her across just fine. Although I have to admit, your Robovie R3 is the closest of the bunch to my dream of a real robotic Gary Coleman.

Sadly, it looks like another year without my mechanical soul mate. Until that day, I guess I’ll just have to be content with sharing my He-Man collection with my Roomba.

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4 Responses to Really? You Call That a Robot?

  1. I understand that there are overtones of humour in this post, but as a robotics student, let me reassure you that it's not our fault! Rat on at the engineers at not figuring out cheap, reliable power sources and processing units! Buy a few shares in ARM and press them to improve their chips or something!

      • Just read it – yea, he shares the exact same thinking I do, but obviously worded it a lot better. I wanted to mention cost stifling imagination in my first comment… dunno why I didn't!

  2. any of you folks figure it might not be anybody's fault, just that your expectations are kinda high?

    else, maybe you missed the memo: Nobody in the world has any idea how to build any of the stuff you're dreaming about. Not a clue. First get your computer to have an actual conversation, recognize you, figure out when your remarks are literal or sarcastic.

    Then put legs on it.