A Robot Round Up: Practical, Dexterous & Sometimes Just Scary

Robots are truly one of the more interesting inventions of the technological age, with movies setting precedents of rogue robots destroying humanity, I for one expected more of death and doom from robots that join the mainstream than I expected things like the mild mannered Roomba, just gliding around, cleaning messes. But then there are some robots like Russia’s Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research or FEDOR for short that is straight out of Terminator nightmares. 

Here is a quick look at some of the cool robots that have been developed in the last decade or so that sometimes ease our lives and at others, really make us wonder if we need robots to be that smart after all.

Let us start with the more practical and lighter side of the spectrum with:

Clocky Robot Alarm Clock

If you are not a morning person and love your snooze button this cute little contraption is for you. Clocky Robot Alarm Clock will ensure that you can never hit the snooze button. How you ask? It is simple, as the alarm starts to blare, Clocky just jumps off of the surface it is placed on, as long as it is less than three feet high and out of your reach. Not just that, it will go one step further and hide from your sleepy head, forcing you out of bed if you want the loud alarm to stop. 

I do hope Clocky is also beating proof, I cannot imagine me being too happy chasing my clock around the room but nonetheless it sounds like an awesome invention for someone who has trouble leaving their bed like me. 

Want a dog but have insane allergies?  Genibo Robot Dog is for you. This invention can be a man and a woman’s best friend, because well it’s a dog and because it can cost as much as diamonds. However, this dog is guaranteed to not shed or have accidents on your carpet and it doesn’t need commands or attention all the time. In fact, you don’t notice it for five minutes and boom, it goes to sleep. Maybe leading with boom was a bad idea but you get the picture. Speaking of pictures, that is another feature of Genibo; it takes pictures and will only get upset if its sides are touched.

Dogs aren’t your animals and you like cats better but are sick of cleaning litter boxes, well here is the solution, the Litter-Robot III Open Air Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box. The uses of this are as many as the words in its name, or well at least they seem like that because of the value they bring to the table. This weird orb like robot is literally like a self-flushing toilet that is equipped with sensors that know when your cat is inside and will start a cleaning cycle as soon as it leaves. The cool little machine will sift through the litter and separate pieces of poop, which will then be deposited in a carbon filter containing drawer, reducing odors.

If animals are not your deal at all and you are more someone who enjoys nature but cannot really grow any plants themselves, Farmbot is made for you.  What this marvelous piece of machine will do for you is let you plan a garden virtually, that it will replicate in real life. It will take care of the sowing, the watering and weeding, ensuring that your not-so-green thumb comes nowhere close to the plants and they grow up to be big and strong despite you.

So these were some of the cute robots, either in design or use but what about their darker counterparts? Like FEDOR who I mentioned in a start. Yes, that is correct, I called it a who. Why did I do that? Well the way FEDOR looks, something in my heart wants to call it sir. FEDOR is a humanoid, especially designed by Russia to take part in their space mission that was slated for 2021. Till it is on earth, FEDOR is supposed to only indulge in rescue missions but just last year, it was taught to hold guns in both hands and fire simultaneously while it can also drive a car. a

Then there is Handle from the Boston Dynamics that moves around so smoothly that it makes humans at their most efficient movements look bad. Handle has legs that are equipped with wheels and it can tackle any terrain smoothly due to the 10 electric and hydraulic actuator joints. This bad boy can carry up to 45kgs in weight when its battery is charged to capacity this 6.5 feet tall machine is capable of chasing you for 15 kms at a speed of 14.5km/hour while it jumps over obstacles that are up to four feet tall. 

Last but not the least on the list is the HiBot ACM-R5H from the Japanese company HiBot. This robot replicates a snake’s movements on all kinds of terrains including water. Yes, you read that right. This weird slithery robot can glide effortlessly towards you with a mouth that is reminiscent of Predator apart from the bright lights. If you do want to invest in this robot, you can alter the length of it according to preference, along with the option to customize both sensors and cameras for the front or rear ends of this truly amazing but terrifying robot. A Cortex-M4 processor based on ARM architecture controls the movements of the robot, making it so eerily similar to a snake that I for one would not like to share a pool with this truly insane creation.

With all these extremely smart and sometimes daunting robots, one can only hope we have effective means of shutting them down when the need comes, otherwise how we outrunning FEDOR? Jokes aside, the strides we have taken in the field of robotics are truly marvelous and I cannot wait to see what other cool robots come about.

– Nida Khan

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