22 June, 2015

Uncle John's Robotica, mechanical marvels and mind-melting machines of the past, present, and future by the Bathroom Readers' Institute

“Robotica” is a small book which is packed full of interesting facts and trivia relating to robots. Each page covers one topic You can flick through the book and read as you want – an article here or there, whatever you fancy.

So we have basic facts, like the word ‘robot’ which is taken from the Czech word for ‘slave’. The book questions what a robot is, and whether artificial intelligences and computer programmes are robots.  It solves the issue simply by concluding that robots can be explained as “… being saddled with all the work we don’t want to do”.

In Japan, Panasonic have developed the Head Care Robot which will wash and style people’s hair. This is in use now in rest homes for elderly and handicapped persons. In the medical field, surgical robots have been in use for 30 years – these perform minor surgical procedures and can be calibrated to carry out precise and delicate work.

At Osaka University engineers have come up with an answer to how impersonal business meetings via video conferencing or Skype can be improved to provide the traditional hand shaking, to conclude a successful meeting or business deal.  They have created a silicone robotic hand that can be shaken realistically, and it is hoped in future this will mimic the person’s grip and actual movements.

There are even “Robostitutes” functional sex robots that are already available: Roxxxy is a 120-pound fake lady equipped with lifelike silicone skin that warms to the touch – an artificial intelligence engine that can be programmed to learn its owner’s likes and dislikes.

A final note: there is no one author credited with writing this book; it is “Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Robotica”, from the Bathroom Readers Institute.  The last page of the book confirms that the Bathroom Reader Series is in fact published with the ‘bathroom reader’ in mind.  This book is an interesting find and well worth reading at any time.

Title: Uncle John's Robotica
Author: The Bathroom Readers' Institute

Recommended by Ana, Central Library

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