Humanoid Robotics seems to take big steps forward when they collaborate – below is a video of Albert HUBO, a collaboration of Hanson Robotics who specialise in facial robotics and the HUBO project from The Korean Advanced Institute of Science. This humanoid robot project has also developed and trialed powering the Robot by a DMFC (similar to Hydrogen) fuel cell, which has been an enduring enigma throughout Robotics.
The next video demonstrates just how close we are to having a fully functioning, auto or self powered Android – they may still need to wear a large cell or pack on their backs though – so they’re a little way off walking, talking RealDolls yet. This Actroid, as it’s creators call it, also highlights the sexually orientated design similarities with the RealDolls and of course invokes the implications of Mori’s Uncanny Valley. It may be however, that we all have our own individual responses to the ‘uncanny valley’ which in turn is being shaped by cyberculture? The very notion that one could purchase a personally acceptable female android as a sexual and domestic ‘partner’ for an affordable price was completely unthinkable only a few years ago and yet after a brief search on the internet this concept is very close to fruition. The concept that a machine could also be subject to considerations of slavery is salient here!
The first question that springs to mind is regarding the snake and whether it’s own similar ‘uncanny valley’ already exists; not in the same way as Frankenstein’s monster or RealDolls could, but in it’s own right as a biological entity and in particular our possible evolutionary response to snakes – namely fear, fight or flight? Could or indeed does a Snake like Robot induce the same or a similar level of basic cognitive responses – I think it may be very interesting and commercially prudent to find out? – Particularly regarding the development and design of the snake skin?
I also came across ROVIO, a web based surveillance robot which can be remotely steered around domestic spaces and has a microphone and speakers allowing live communication. With a snake-arm attached to this elegant little robot, it could very easily provide live information for remote medical and care purposes. The developments here are also numerous and open the door for OC Robotics snake-arm as an invaluble and sophisticated attachment to many domestic, medical and care orientated robotics projects, a consideration OC Robotics have demonstarted with their support for this research. The SLUGBot is another project in dire need of a snake-arm to make it commercially viable and the collaboration of technologies therefore seems to be the key for current commercial progress and success for robots in general but perhaps even more so for the snake-arm in domestic spaces?
Lastly, my initial look and observations of Humanoid Robots could be described as a little obvious and even perhaps just an identification of the lowest common denominators, however from a commercial perspective it would appear that men dominate robotics and presently hold the sway or power over robotic developments as well as the monopoly on silicon sex slaves ably demonstrated by the astronomical sales projections of RealDolls. Could we be entering the age of ‘complete’ mysgonistic individualism aided by robotic technology? – Kenneth Gergen has some convincing arguments here regarding ‘the technological self’.