many more axes of motion. The two
spindly-legged, antenna-eared robot
dogs in Figure 9 appear quite cute.
The robot cat in Figure 10 is a cat
version of the space dogs. Wrex the
Dawg in Figure 11 (made by
Wow Wee) took the approach of
adding wheels to the hind legs to
thoroughly distinguish it from a real
dog and give it a true robot look.
It’s available for about $150.
One last amazing animal-lookalike
I’d like to cover is Andrew Chase’s
cheetah sculptures from Wired.com
shown in Figures 12a and 12b. These
works of art are not robots, though
they can be positioned and posed in
many variations. It took Chase over
60 hours to create this unique 40 inch
Tom Carroll can be reached at
tall, 50 inch long animal from many
scrounged parts. “She’s constructed
out of electrical conduit, used
transmission parts, disemboweled
household appliances, 20-gauge steel,
and a lot of fender washers,”
says Chase. Weighing in at 40
pounds, all of the joints mimic the
movements and articulations of the
real animal. Andrew has made several
other ‘robot’ sculptures, including an
elephant and a giraffe.
Just how real should we make
our robots? Do robot animals
and humanoid robots need to be
indistinguishable from the real living
things? Do we have to fear replicants
in the future, as depicted in movies
like Blade Runner?
There is no doubt that robot
experimenters and engineers will
continue to strive to bridge the
Uncanny Valley and produce both
synthetic animals and humans that
don’t give us the willies. SV
FIGURE 12a and 12b.
Andrew Chase’s cheetah.
80 SERVO 10.2009