At first blush, a business technology tradeshow doesn’t exactly sound like the Mardi Gras of good times, but four very special robotic guests livened things up at CeBit, the biggest international computer expo in the world. From stripper skills to analogue muscles and tendons, the talents and features of these humanoid robots ended up stealing the show.
The Pole-Dancing Prowess of Lexy and Tess
Image via Flickr by abulhussain
Drawing some of the biggest crowds of the 2014 expo, the Tobit Software booth continued its tradition of displaying pole-dancing robots. Costing about $40,000 to make, the two mechanical strippers are controlled from a PC, have LED lights in lieu of faces, and are powered by the 12V motors that control the windshield wipers of cars.
Tobit, a mobile app maker, gave the two gal gadgets some upgrades this year. Lexy and Tess now have more colors and larger breasts. Additionally, the company can now operate the girls from an Android smartphone, highlighting the endless potential and versatility of cellular technology.
The Diplomacy of RoboThespian
The unofficial robotic host of CeBit this year, RoboThespian offered the eloquent welcome address to attendees and then schmoozed political figures like British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. David Cameron shook hands with RoboThespian, who apparently took a selfie of the moment and then tweeted the pic just moments later.
At six feet tall, RoboThespian has cameras, can recognize facial expressions, and possesses depth perception. The Cornish company Engineered Arts created RoboThespian as an alternative to human exhibition guides who would have to recite the same tour every day. Currently, however, RoboThespian serves primarily educational purposes and also makes occasional appearances in plays and other live shows.
The Bright Future of One-Year-Old Roboy
Meet Roboy Junior, the inaugural prototype of the Roboy project, whose goal is to construct a robot that moves just like a human. Roboy has tendons, bones, and muscles fashioned after those of humans, which allow him to make complex movements. The purpose of anthropomimetic robots like Roboy is to better understand how the human body works and then apply those lessons to industrial production, such as the manufacturing of prosthetics. Roboy’s ability to simulate diseases might also help reduce the cost of training physicians. Roboy can do much more than just play sick–he can make appropriate facial expressions for many emotions, including turning red when he is “angry.”
Although robots that gyrate on poles might not exactly be a boon to the future of the human race, the technology powering their robotic peers holds tremendous promise in education, medicine, and more. RoboThespian can save human resources by handling speaking and presentation tasks, even offering a human-like touch by responding appropriately to verbal feedback from audience members. Likewise, Roboy could do wonders for prosthetics and medicine in general by helping doctors fine tune their understanding of human mechanics. Needless to say, it’s obvious why these four humanoids wowed at CeBit this year.