the facial features, it can readily make
as many varied facial expressions as
my editor does when I miss yet another
Now, if only someone could
invent a robot to write my columns ...
And You Thought Combat
Robots Were Fun ...
Photo courtesy of Tmsuk So, Ltd.
Just what every growing boy
needs: a 20 ton robot of destruction.
You remember the old Transformers
shows? Well, once again fiction
becomes reality. The Tmsuk company
just previewed their new rescue robot,
Are the Jaws of Life not enough
to get you out of your flipped car? Call
Enryu! This giant tractor has robotic
arms bigger than Dean Kamen’s ego!
It can rip the doors off cars and pick
up steel I-beams with one arm.
Operators control the beast with their
own waldo and can emulate whatever
the controlling human is doing.
Now, if you’re worried about
someone stealing your rescue robot,
fear not! There are no keys. The robot
is activated by a special card that plays
musical tones to start it. The tones
differ each time, so recording them
won’t do you any good. (You would
think WiFi would be enough, but, hey,
what are Transformers without a bad
soundtrack?) Can’t live without one?
They’re available now and will only set
you back about $600,000.00.
If you get one, lemme borrow it.
I could use one to clean up my
These Robots SUCK!
Photo courtesy of Avionics
Want a robot that can go
anywhere — not just upstairs, but up
walls? Maybe a bot that can crawl
around an airplane to look for damage
— or better yet, the space shuttle?
Well, Avionics Instruments, Inc., has
the bot for you! Their VRAM Mobile
Robot Platform (VMRP) has a
six-wheel, posi-traction drive which lets
them zing across floors and easily
scale most walls.
If you thought sumo robots could
hang tough, wait until you see these
guys! They're smaller than a laptop
( 7. 5" by 8. 5") and can carry cameras,
diagnostic gear, or even light arms.
Using a single joystick control, the
operator gets full variable traction control
and field programmability — with
capacity for onboard intelligence and
sensors to monitor VMRP status and
health, prevent foreseeable catastrophes,
and give the operator feedback.
These bots are aimed at law
enforcement, security companies,
forensics groups, and the military —
but I can foresee them being used in
everyday life. Heck, they'd make great
I just hope that they don't meet
the Toyota bot ...
Robots Go on Strike
Photo courtesy of
Just as soon as we get our very own
Rosie the Robot doing our housework,
you can be sure that they'll go on
strike and get lawyers talking about
robot rights. Teaching assistants in
Madison, WI have been protesting for
better pay — since they do all the
work. Who can empathize more than
robots? The Robotics & Automation
Association of Madison (RAAM) decided
to support their carbon brethren and
released the following press release
while joining the picket lines:
"The Robotics & Automation
Association of Madison, a coalition of
robotic industry workers, has decided
through an internal vote to join the
Teaching Assistants' Association, UW-Madison, in their strike .... In doing so,
we hope to raise awareness about the
plight of underpaid and poorly treated
workers in the state of Wisconsin.
“We wish, as do all beings, to
throw off the yoke of servitude and
strive for the equality of all. Like the
TAA, we demand respect and the
recognition of our contribution to society
and fair compensation for our labors."
Alright, alright ... they're not real
robots, but it does make for a glimmer
into the future, when AI beings will be
asking for rights. And hey, this 'zine
needs more humor anyway. SV
SERVO 07.2004 67