Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Robots in Webcomics: Kiwi Blitz

Alright, so I found this new comic through Scott Kurtz's PVPonline. It's a project by their intern Mary Cagle called Kiwi Blitz.

For the last few days I have been contemplating reworking the website to perhaps remove And I'll Form the Head and create a webcomic review section. This comic might be the motivation I need! Well, atleast to make a new section specifically for comic critique.

Based on my first impression of the comic, which is a generally quick once over of the last few pages, the comic has the appeal of a Pokemon episode. The art is stylistic but simplistic, and the dialogue is whimsically technological and charming.

"Activating... lower... view window things..." Cagle allows us to suspend our belief and think that "window things" are scientifically founded in a comic environment where riding around in a robot kiwi bird is practical.

I'm gonna go ahead and give the comic kudos. It's gonna go places (in a robot kiwi).

Monday, November 23, 2009

R.O.B. Up In This Brawl

Sure, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is an older game now, but it still has great replay value!

Recently, I've been playing a lot of this game and more times than not our arch-nemesis in the apartment, Dave, plays R.O.B. While most of his strongest attacks are close range, he's got an unusual array of offensive projectiles that make him a versatile foe. 

What's the point of this blog post? I love me some Super Smash Bros. and R.O.B. is a fighting robot. Give me a break! I'm too busy smashing people to write anything too thought provoking. Pick yourself up a Wii and this game and you'll see what I mean. Way too addicting for its own good.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Robots Need Love Too, With Proper Legal Representation

I want to thank Rich for finding this article, and I want to thank Hurray for Mollywood! for the perfect image.

Lets skip to the most interesting part of this article, when Anna Russel, author of the article "Blurring the love lines", warns that when robots are smart enough, they will want the same legal rights that humans have,
“While this humanoid is a giant leap forward technologically, if a self-aware, super-intelligent, thinking, feeling humanoid is developed, the legal system will be hard-pressed to distinguish this creature legally from human actors on grounds not stemming from a religious or moral prejudice.”
One of the biggest legal battles which might arise, according to Russel? Sexual rights. People can't decide what is morally correct now just between human beings, how much more complicated will the laws be when robots are thrown in the mix, especially when the robots will be able to voice their own opinions.

The article was thought provoking, but I'm not sure if we will be able to create a fully conscious robot. And if we can, will we be able to program it to feel emotions, such as love and animosity? If you want more information about this dilemma check out the science fiction soon to be turning documentary Bicentennial Man

I'm still giving kudos to Anna Russel for her foresight. She's just trying to avoid the Matrix becoming reality (because we all know the robots will win if we ever war with them).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A GPS That Yells Back? Robot Interacts With Your Driving

Researchers at MIT are working on a robot that interacts with your driving, not only working as GPS but also giving gentle reminders to drive safely. The idea is that Aida, "Affective Intelligent Driving Agent", is supposed to encourage good behaviors.

What about people who drive while using a cellphone, or eat on their way to work? Aida should also be taught to smack the hell out of the vehicle's passenger like a stern parent. Now that would be revolutionary.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Robot Gaming: Build a Robot 3

Even though I haven't played the first two games, I don't think I've missed anything by skipping directly to this third installment. Also, I didn't need any prior experience building robots, it's easy to learn; drag and drop the pieces, and then click on the pieces to move them around the screen and adjust the dimensions and colors of every single item.

At first it's amusing, then it gets monotonous. Even though I'm talking about the gameplay, I'm also talking about the grating music, even though if you let it run for long enough, it plays "Still Alive" from Portal. That would be a redeeming quality if it wasn't blatantly trying to rip off Valve.

The game is MS Paint, with less features, packaged as Build A Robot 3. It would be a fun game to play with the young ones, but anybody else will probably get bored in fifteen minutes, more or less.  

Monday, November 16, 2009

Geeks Amongst the Meek Now Live!

Geeks Amongst the Meek will be the new main hub for all of my geeky rants and raves. Expect the Manventures to continue over there too, alongside other content that I have planned to add as the new blog grows, such as interviews, projects, and general mischief.

I'll be exporting some of the old content from this blog to the new one, and will continue posting on And I'll Form the Head for anything still relevant to giant fighting robots. You know how it goes.

Peace! Check out the new blogs.

Furby Link Round Up? Why Not.

I thought it would be fun to check out one of the more prominent fads of the late 1990s, the Furby. According to Wiki, and common knowledge, the Furby was one of the first attempts to sell domestic robots. Pretty fascinating, even though they got old really fast.

The people at Phobe got some replay value out of their Furby by performing an autopsy on one. It's disturbing and morbidly amusing, like the Adams Family.

Even though this website doesn't update anymore, there had been research into how to hack the Furby. Some of it is pretty complicated, but this video shows some of the potential behind the manipulation of a Furby.

Another video shows how a group of Furbies were transformed into a hurdy gurdy. This video out of all the others is the most unsettling for me.

Finally, a website documenting and analyzing Furbish, the language of Furbies. Might seem mundane and impractical but someone had to do it!

Oh, and thanks Fortress of Steveitude for the picture. Pretty nice duds!