New Inventions Provide Robots For Christmas Gifts
Robots Available in Stores
We can now purchase carpet and floor cleaning robots at department stores such as Meijer and Target in the household sections, as well as online from several companies.
Robots and Reboots
Always looking for something better than Earthlings and animals, mankind often turns to the cosmos and technology for companionship and adventure.
We search for a truth that is "out there..." according to The X-Files and "in there" according to computer information science. In our quest for extraterrestrial life we go out to the edges of the Universe and into the pinpoint center of cyberspace and find much the same information and constructs. An atom is after all, like a solar system.
Friends and Helpers
Some people long to find humanoid life on other planets.
Some of us want to find off-planet humanoid life with whom to be friends. Some of us would want to try living in a non-Earth social system, especially one free form politics.
Some of us believe that off-planet aliens would be better companions to us than earth people. enter the robot, the star of science fiction for decades and a reality today.
After all, Mr Spock from Star Trek did not lie and Data programmed himself to be a perfect companion in one episode. In the 1960s there was a short lived TV series starring Julie Newmar - My Living Doll. Bob Cummings was the male lead and Julie played an android that was just a little jerky in movements, a stage below Data and sever steps above the endearing Robbie the Robot of old films and TV's Lost in Space.
In Japan, over a decade ago, scientists perfected the human replicant ala Blade Runner. One could not tell it from a human being, except that its brain would not fit into the skull. The brain sat next to it, the size of a 20' x 20' standard height room. That's how much brain we have.
While computerized applications become smaller and smaller each year, this computer-brain in the 21st century is still much larger than a human skull, so people must look else where for electronic companionship while our iPods shrink down to the size of a microdot.
In Japan, over a decade ago, scientists perfected the human replicant akin to those in "Blade Runner." One could not tell it from a human being, except that its brain would not fit into the skull - the brain filled an entire room.
Excellent Robot Asian Fan Dance
Sony ERS7 - Pet Dog Robot
How Much is That Doggie at Radio Shack?
Since we are unable to have electric human companions, such as the electric grandmother in Ray Bradbury's story adapted for The Twilight Zone, " I Sing the Body Electric", we turn to electric pets.
Some folks are afraid of dogs or don't feel that they can take care of a pet, but want to try robot creatures. In Japan, again, there has been a system in place for over a decade by which a lonely person can rent a family for holidays, including grandparents, children, whatever you want.
In America, a new twist is that some businesses have opened that rent pets as well. This is not turning out very well -- Many people are outraged about passing around pets and there is a cure controversy in the practice. A few hotels keep several cats as pets on the premises and allow quests to borrow one for the night if they wish. That works out better.
While a robotic pet may never offer the deep, unique connection that a real animal can have with its human friend, robotic pets may be acceptable for some people. These individuals run the risk of staying at home on the Internet, telecommuting for work, and playing with a robot dog and never leaving the house or communicating with organic creatures. That has worked in science fiction films in which person was stranded on a planet with only holograms for companions, but the real world would work against this.
If the power supply is damaged or removed from one's virtual world, what does one do? Does one have withdrawal, depression, a psychotic break? I don't know. I think about Tom Hanks in the film Castaway, where he befriends a soccer ball he names ";Wilson"; and then loses him at sea and becomes quite distressed. Can people forget how to relate to other organic human beings? They may.
Pets can help make people healthier by decreasing their recovery time from accidents and illnesses, by lowering their blood pressure, by reducing isolation, but stimulating communication, etc. Can a robot dog do that? We don't know yet.
Meanwhile, electronic companions are available. With computers that can learn, there may even be a hope that your Pinocchio can turn into a real live boy, or your Velveteen Rabbit can become a real bunny.
Other Robot Pets
Advances in Robotics and 3D Printers
- 3D Bioprinting Produces Unlimited Varieties of Human Organs and Tissues
Science fiction as a discipline has told us for decades that we can make replacement parts for human beings. In the 2010s, we began to accomplish this by 3D printing biological materials.
- Bionic Gadgets Replace Injured or Amputated Limbs
In the 2010s, our wounded warriors, the public, and even animals have access to bionic limbs and lab-grown organs, while 3D printers can print us some new parts. Medicine is creating miracles!
© 2008 Patty Inglish MS