Muggeridge’s Law, which posits that there is no way for any satirist to improve upon real life for its pure absurdity, strikes again:
Penny: I just thought I’d stop by and say hello.
Leonard: Oh, what a nice surprise. I don’t think you’ve ever seen my lab before.
Penny: No, I know. It’s long overdue. So, what ya doing? Better not be building a robot girlfriend.
Leonard: No. Although Howard was making some real strides in that area until he met Bernadette.
Penny: You’re kidding.
Leonard: Nope. Now the Lisatronic 3000 just sits in a box waiting for the phone to ring.
—The Big Bang Theory, “The Holographic Excitation,” October 25, 2012.
NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) has revealed its entry into the $2m DARPA Robotics Challenge, which will start later this month. The result is a robot dubbed Valkyrie that’s designed to look like a sexy superhero.
The 1.9-metre tall, 125kg droid has interchangeable arms that can be swapped out by removing a single bolt and connector, and three fingers and a thumb on each hand that exceed a human’s in strength. It also has an impressive cleavage, thanks to the linear actuators that allow it to swivel, and a glowing NASA icon that looks straight out of Iron Man.
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“Our robot is soft. If you brush against it while you’re working, you don’t want to feel this cold, hard metal,” JSC team leader Nicolaus Radford told IEEE Spectrum. “You want it to feel natural, like you’re working next to another human being. The soft goods, the clothes we put on the robot, give it that feel, that appearance of being more comfortable to be near.”
—”Meet NASA’s Valkyrie: A SILKY BUSTY ROBO-MINX that’ll save your life,” the London Register, December 11, 2013.