The swimming bionic penguins created by German automation company Festo are amazing enough (“Unlike real penguins, they can also go backwards”), but keep watching til you get to the beautifully serene floating penguins – like shiny helium balloons, except with the power of autonomous flight. I feel I’d quite like to have one following me wherever I go.
At last – someone has invented a chair that mends itself. This seems to be a growing movement – this walking table, for instance, needs a bit of human assistance but has quite a dainty step. We haven’t been paying attention: all the time we thought apes/lizards/Martians would take over the world, and it’ll turn out to be our furniture.
If you nip over to Bluebell FM, you can hear Bluebell’s essential predictions for 2008. Don’t start the year without them…
Apologies – it seems there’s been a problem with the RSS feed which means it hasn’t been updating with the latest episodes, but that’s all fixed now, I hope.
You are cordially invited to the grand opening of Bluebell.fm – the home of robot folk tales. If you like Fed by Birds, or are generally fond of enjoying yourself, then this is the place for you.
As an antidote to the disturbing robot mule, here is the sweet face of robotics – the charming Asimo running, walking hand in hand with a Japanese lady, and tentatively delivering coffee to some businesswomen.
I’m not sure what it is about this robot mule used by the army that makes it so disturbing. Something about the very realistic knees that all go the wrong way. Also I don’t like the way they kick it – although this is apparently to demonstrate its amazing reflexes. Don’t kick the robot mule! The army are encountering some unexpected problems with their growing use of robots to carry out dangerous tasks: like the colonel who put a stop to a robot testing land mines because it was inhumane.
This shape-shifting robot has been designed to slip in unnoticed among a flock of real swifts so scientists can study their hyperefficient flying technique. “They are really agile and to study them you have really got to fly close to them – and look like them,” says David Lentink of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. “Some birds will attack any model aircraft that comes close,” he adds, in the New Scientist.
The explanation is in Japanese, but the swimming snake robot speaks for itself…