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Robots

Retrofuturist Flashback: Rise of the Mobot

 Retrofuturist Flashback: Rise of the Mobot

Mobots impress us with their pouring skills and possible lady-murder in this edition of Retrofuturist Flashback... See more »

My Canadian TV Childhood: ASTAR, Switchback

 My Canadian TV Childhood: ASTAR, Switchback

As listeners to the podcast probably know, I spent part of my childhood in Newfoundland, Canada. My fam only lived there for three years, but I must have watched a lot of TV in that time. Heck, I guess I watched a lot of TV the first two decades of my life. We only had the one channel of CBC to watch in the little town of Roddickton, but it introduced me to such treasures as Duran Duran's homoerotic, post-apocalyptic (and awesome) "Wild Boys" video and Michael Jackson's "Thriller." And then there were these distinctly Canadian gems... See more »

 The Fantastic Voyage of Endoscopic Cameras

Thanks to modern technology, you no longer have to turn yourself inside out to travel the cramped tunnels of your own digestive track. Just swallow a pill-shaped camera-bot, grab a bowl of pop corn, then just sit back and watch the bot traverse the 39-foot highway that is your guts. So join Julie and I as they look into the world of capsule endoscopy - which in turn take a look inside the world of us. See more »

 Blow Your Mind: Robotic Roomates and the Science of Smell

So I think this bit of fan mail from our listener John sets up this week's episodes rather nicely: "Listening to Robots podcast and y'all keep mentioning Roombas, and I know you are cat people. We on a Skeptical Listserve were discussing Roombas last month, and a participant mentioned that a friend of his had a Roomba and a Cat. The cat crapped on the carpet, and the Roomba not-so-helpfully tracked the feces all over the house." See more »

 Blow Your Mind: Waiter, There's a Microdrone in my Soup!

What's that buzzing around the room? A bird? A plane? Nope, it's just a robotic insect sent by some shadow government to spy on our every move. Yes, welcome to the age of the microdrone. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I check in on the current state of militarily drone technology, the rise of biomimetic bird-bots and just how the future may shake out. See more »

 SFSL Roundup: Prosthetic Limbs and Robotic Weapons

I loved the idea of robotic limbs when I was a child. Sci-fi aside, the world of prosthetic limbs continues to amaze me. Technology still can't fully replace a lost limb, but they can restore a great deal of function. As Allison explored in this post, they may someday make us better, stronger and faster. This week's "Stuff From the Science Lab" episodes cover prosthetics as well as the current state of unmanned aerial vehicles. See more »

 Noel Sharkey: Robotics vs. Sci-Fi vs. Anthropomorphism

Last week I had the privilege to chat with Noel Sharkey, professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the U.K.'s University of Sheffield. Noel is the co-founder of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) and has presented his thoughts on the matter to everyone from British Parliament to "The Daily Show." He's exactly the guy you want to talk to for 35 minutes about killer robots. I conducted the interview for the Discovery News article "Are Terminators Real?" and couldn't squeeze in everything Noel had to say. So I thought I'd share some more of his thoughts here -- specifically those related to the anthropomorphizing of machines and how science fiction alters our expectations of robotics. See more »

 More Robots to Manhandle Human Corpses

Yes, if the prospect of corpse-eating warbots wasn't enough, Swiss engineers are keeping the dream of a horrifying and ghoulish robotic future alive with Virtobot, which will "not only study dead bodies virtually, but create a digital copy of the cadaver so that it might be studied years down the line." What's not to love? See more »

 My Favorite Organic Farmer Is a Robot

With increased focus on smaller farms, slow food and organic cultivation methods, it was only a matter of time till the robots shook hands with hippies and got serious about growing some arugula. Enter the GrowBot: A partnership between the Georgia Institute of Technology and Atlanta's independent food community, rogueApron, GrowBot explores the robotic possibilities for local organic farming. According to founder Lady Rogue, there's a misconception that organic farming is inherently anti-technology. You know what she means: bike-riding, sun tea-drinking treehuggers who prefer actual dirt to an episode of "Dirty Jobs." See more »

 Six Real-life Giant Robots

Giant robots have thrived in our popular culture for decades, rampaging through our comic books, video games, movies and Queen album covers. Their appearances in fiction are generally pretty easy to explain. After all, what else are you going to use to battle giant monsters (or other giant robots)? In reality, of course, we simply don't have to contend with rampaging, mutated monsters -- and I cannot stress enough how useless a giant robot would be against a hurricane or meteor. Yet at least six giant robots do in fact exist -- and we developed each of them with a particular purpose in mind. See more »