For reasons that not all of us
comprehend, 46 years after it debuted on CBS,
"Lost in Space" remains a nostalgic favorite
for a multitude of fans. As one of its less
enthusiastic followers noted, "Yes, it is campy.
Yes, the acting is bad and the props are
cheesy. Yes, it is brain-dead entertainment,
but Lost in Space has the elements that make
it very entertaining." Reportedly, most of
the cast members were happy to see it go
after three seasons. In fact, Guy Williams
(John Robinson) was so appalled that he moved to Argentina after the show was
cancelled and never acted again. However, if hearing the magic words, "Danger,
Will Robinson, Danger!" still gives you a tingle, rejoice! You now can own a full
size, limited edition, fully licensed reproduction of the famed Class M- 3 Model B9
General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot. Its list of functions is
too extensive to cover here, but be advised that it comes with 500 voice tracks
recorded by Richard Tufeld (who provided the voice of the original unit), and his
canned phrases are projected by a booming 240W stereo system. For all the details,
visit www.lostinspacerobot.com. By the way, owning your own B9 will set you
back $24,500 (including domestic shipping), so keep your credit card handy.
B9 robots and their creators,
waiting for your purchase.
Look, Ma, No Farmer
If you're driving past some farms in the corn belt and think you see a John
Deere slogging through the fields with no operator, your eyes may not be
deceiving you. Kinze Manufacturing ( www.kinze.com) — via the Kinze Autonomy
Project — is now offering "the first truly autonomous row crop solution on this
scale in the world," according to VP and chief marketer Susanne Kinzenbaw
Veatch. "Knowing how important it is to get crops into the ground during the
short planting window, we're excited to offer this system to help growers be
productive and make the most of their harvest."
Kinze has largely eliminated the need for skilled operators in the tractor cab by
replacing them with a GPS-based control system. The grower loads a field map into
the system, including field boundaries and any existing obstacles such as waterways.
He then drives the tractor to the field, and the system automatically figures out the
most efficient game plan for planting. It positions itself at the starting point and
works until the job is done — assuming it doesn't encounter any unexpected
obstacles. If it does, it stops until the farmer intervenes and eliminates the problem.
In addition to planting, the equipment can be used to fertilize, maintain, and
harvest row crops like corn and soybeans. The technology — two years in development
— was originally developed in a lab
using computer simulation with the
assistance of Jaybridge Robotics
( www.jaybridge.com), a robotic
software company founded by
graduates of MIT and Carnegie
Mellon. The bottom line is that
farmers can now spend less time
planting and harvesting, and more
time making them tasty corn
An unmanned John Deere operated by the
Kinze autonomous system.
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