Floating Silver Robot Penguins

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.

Chair Robot

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.

Lovely Robot Run

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.

Frightening Robotic Mule

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.