Nov 17, 2012

Best Real Life Robots

NASA Curiosity rover The little robot that could, Curiosity is currently trundling about on the surface of Mars following a descent that was described by NASA as "seven minutes of terror." Initially sending back Instagram-esque snaps of the Red Planet, Curiosity's since upped its game with some truly breathtaking HD panoramas. NASA's rover has done us proud
Husqvarna Automower Solar Hybrid This lawnmower robot will keep your bowling green neatly clipped at all times (what d'you mean, you don't have one?). It'll putter about over half an acre trimming back the grass, and because it's solar powered it keeps your garden green in all senses of the word. At US $3000, a clean conscience doesn't come cheap, though.

Boston Dynamics PETMAN PETMAN, created to test protective clothing for extreme situations, has become so much more. He’s able to walk like a man, run like a man, and even jump like a man. You can push the big fella and he’ll balance himself out to keep on walking. We suspect he’s made for more than clothes testing – perhaps a future race of robot soldiers who don’t like being pushed about? Yes, that’s much more exciting.

Robo-fish A sub-aquatic robo-fish might not sound that useful without a spear-gun and a whole bunch of attacking sharks. In reality it could help save our oceans by hunting down and reporting pollution. Robo-fish will constantly patrol harbours – in teams if their AI deems the threat necessary – keeping track of any chemicals that may be leaked by vessels, a great deal better than current once-a-month checks.

Hanson Robots Zeno Zeno was created to help humans communicate better, using a Frubber skin to elicit facial expressions it’s ideal for teaching, especially for children with learning difficulties. His dual HD camera eyes and 37 degrees of movement mean he can recognise and remember who he is teaching to enable a more natural chat. But at nearly $ US16,000 for the privilege you’d hope he will one day be able to do your washing too.

Robotis DARwIn-OP This adorable little fellow has won us over with large saucer eyes and stylish Batman ears, though he's more than just a pretty face. With more sensors than a Star Trek communicator, the DARwIn-OP boasts a HD camera and mic, a built in speaker and SD card slot and has the ability to learn, walk and even pick itself up when it falls on its behind. Which is more than we can say for many of us on a night out.

HyQ quadruped This canine-like rambler might look like an electronic headless hell hound from the circuitry abyss but it's actually a pinnacle of stable four-footed walking, with the ability to adjust according to the terrain and obstacles (including, we presume, chasing postmen)

Boston Dynamics RiSE Who needs radioactive spiders when science is there to save the day? This little fellow can climb anything from walls and trees to fences and other textured surfaces, all thanks to its six electric motor-powered legs. Just don't get scared and spray it with Raid. It's probably worth a lot of money

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