25 best real robots
Let's take a look at some weak flesh-bag-human replacements, that might seem scary-advanced now, but to future generations will be as laughable as the first mobile, a 5in floppy disk, and those damned Furbies are to us now.
Boston Dynamics PETMAN
PETMAN, created to test protective clothing for extreme situations, has become so much more. He’s able to walk like a man, run like a man, and even jump like a man. You can push the big fella and he’ll balance himself out to keep on walking. We suspect he’s made for more than clothes testing – perhaps a future race of robot soldiers who don’t like being pushed about? Yes, that’s much more exciting.
Sphero Robotic Ball
Ball games take on a whole new definition with Sphero, the smartphone controlled rolling robotic ball. Hook this explorative sphere up to your Android device and use a selection of gaming apps to play with the ball or simply draw routes on your phone and watch Sphero obey your fleshy commands.
Boston Dynamics SandFlea
SandFlea is a jumping robot that can clear 30 feet in a single down-firing piston-propelled jump. Other than taking remote control toy cars to another level this will be useful for infiltrating buildings and delivering video reconnaissance to the military. And with 25 jumps before needing a refuel this little guy can certainly explore.
A sub-aquatic robo-fish might not sound that useful without a spear-gun and a whole bunch of attacking sharks. In reality it could help save our oceans by hunting down and reporting pollution. Robo-fish will constantly patrol harbours – in teams if their AI deems the threat necessary – keeping track of any chemicals that may be leaked by vessels, a great deal better than current once-a-month checks.
Hanson Robots Zeno
Zeno was created to help humans communicate better, using a Frubber skin to elicit facial expressions it’s ideal for teaching, especially for children with learning difficulties. His dual HD camera eyes and 37 degrees of movement mean he can recognise and remember who he is teaching to enable a more natural chat. But at £10,780 for the privilege you’d hope he will one day be able to do your washing too.