Super Ball Robot Revealed By NASA: 7 Other Robots You Didn't Know Existed
NASA has blown our minds again. On Sunday, researchers at NASA's Ames Research Center announced that they would be making use of a brand-new robot to help facilitate their trips to the moon and other planets: hello, Super Ball Robot. This robot doesn't need parachutes, airbags, or retrorockets — unlike mostly other robots NASA has used in the past. The most important difference in Super Ball's design is the focus on "tensegrity" — otherwise known as using tension and compression to maintain a structure (think London's Skylon Tower). The Super Ball Robot will also be lightweight, absorb strong impacts, and be extremely flexible.
Here's a picture of several Super Ball Robots:
But NASA's newest robot isn't the only borg created in recent years to blow our minds. Here are seven robots you should probably know about:
1. Bambi Is A Robot
See this deer.
But you won't see this deer run. In fact, it's a decoy that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is using in Manatee County to catch people illegally hunting. Not only does the deer look real, the FWC can also make it move via a remote control.
"It's a great detail and it has been a great tool for FWC to deter bad hunting practices," FWC Officer Jeffrey Babauta told the Miami Herald. "It does help. Once word gets out that there is a fake deer out there, it deters the bad hunting."
But robot deer decoys aren't the only animal robots out there: Custom Robotic Wildlife, the Wisconsin-based company that designed Manatee County's deer, also designs strutting turkeys (some with a moving tail fan!), rabbits, and fawns. Ironically, they're also used by legal hunters to attract real deers into the open.
2. Who Made This Burger?
Hint: It wasn't a human.
Momentum Machines, a San Francisco-based company, is prepared to change the nature of the fast food industry forever by creating a restaurant chain run solely by robots. (As if fast food workers didn't have enough problems as it is.)
The robots would cook the patties, create custom meat grinds, slice tomatoes and pickles (or hold the pickles), and even pour ketchup. Here's how the machine will look.
You can find out more at Momentum Machines' website. We also dug up this video of Momentum Machines' robot serving ketchup and mustard.
3. Better Than Rosetta Stone
This new robot can speak to you in 19 different languages. Even better, its main speciality is not only languages, but companionship. Because the robot is apparently equipped with emotional intelligence, it can detect the mood of the speaker and respond with empathy. (Not creepy at all, Hal.)
Watch the bot in motion:
4. Cue Hilarious Cat Videos
Not only is there a robot companion for humans — there is also one for cats.
And it's called The Egg. Buckle up, and get ready for cuteness.
The Egg looks like an egg, except it's plastic and it moves on its own. (The cat owner can also program its movements from a laptop.) Here's something even cooler: the Egg has sensory capabilities, meaning it can register what type of floor it's on, and if that's a cat paw or a human finger touching it.
So far, the creators behind the Egg have started a Kickstarter project to create more of these.
But, fair warning: the Egg is meant for cats, not dogs. According to Techcrunch, "Egg’s creator Jason O’Mara says that it isn’t designed to withstand the rougher brand of abuse that can come from dogs."
5. You'll Never Have to Write Again
Bond is a start-up that recently sprang up in New York, and its newly released app will mean the world to your handwriting-deficient hands. Because, who writes by hand any more?
Besides transferring your digitally-written notes into real handwriting, the Bond app is specifically designed as a gift-giving app. It provides you a catalog from which to select a gift for an employer or investor, choose a recipient from your contact list, and an address to send the gift to. If only we'd known about this before Christmas.
You can check out the Bond app at the Apple Store.
The Play-i robot can teach your children how to program. We suppose that for all you computer-deficient peeps who love adorable-looking, toy-like objects, it can also teach you.
Watch Play-i work its magic below, and learn more about it here.
7. Giving Tough Mudder a Run For Its Money
We've saved the best for last. Google has really proven itself with all these robots specifically designed to run quickly, jump tall buildings, carry heavy weights, and maintain perfect balance. This is four robots in one entry, so give each and every one of them a moment of your time.
And this "Wildcat" is not as fast as Cheetah, but is incredibly awesome all the same.
Here's "Big Dog," which can maintain its balance while carrying around heavy bricks.
While "SandFlea" is a cutie with an unexpected talent.
You can read even more about these specific robots over at Gizmodo. Get ready for the takeover, people.