My Books

My Books

Friday, 24 August 2012

Robots and our obsession as creator of 'life' - Uncanny Valley

Here's my small collection of robots, including a solar powered kit robot (blue and grey), Bumblebee, of course, Robbie the Robot, Kumiki, and some ring-ins, including the very cool USB hub robot. Please note, The Stig is not a robot! (but he does have a torch shining out of the top of his helmet) I'm not sure why I like robots, but perhaps there is a link to my fascination with knights. Is it the protective armour? I've always been fascinated with machinery, thanks to my father, a mechanic and tinkerer. I used to pull things apart and then try and figure out how to put them back together. Somewhere, in a parallel universe, there's another me, working in robotics and loving it.

Ever since I saw 'Alien', especially the scene where Ripley battles the alien queen, I've wanted a set of those robotic arms!

As a kid I loved watching Dr Who and cartoons with robots, ie: The Iron Giant, Gigantor, and Inspector Gadget. Robot characters intrigued me, such as Star Wars' C3PO, R2D2, The Lost in Space robot and many more.

There's a terrific list of movies and cartoons with robots and robotics here: wikipedia :Robot_films

Replicas of B9, the Lost in Space robot are being made, with over 500 voice recordings by the original voice actor, Richard Tufield. Original molds and reference materials were obtained by the licensee to produce a model which is identical to the one from the show.

lost in space robot

 There was something touching and thrilling about the relaitonship between the boy, Will Robinson and his best friend, B9.
Realistic looking robots have been used in films for many years, working seamlessly with CGI. There are also robots whose function appears to be more as an advertising gismo for a robotics institute. 

As robots become more humanlike our fascination grows and perhaps a sense of disquiet that we are heading towards uncanny valley where the line between robots and humans is so blurred that the thought of it is both alluring and creepy. Like the deep, dark void that draws you inexorably into it...

Geminoids are robots made to resemble their human inventors. Here's one I'll call the Danish doppelganger

Hanson Robotics have produced a 'Conversational Character Robot' called Jules. It is quite fascinating to watch and listen to, but how 'real' are his 'thoughts'? Jules

I've saved the best for last! Robert the most human robot ever, a delightful spoof that made me giggle.
cheers, Dawn

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