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October 30, 2005
Asimov's 4th law: A robot must serve a mean cuppa
When you think of Japanese robots, you probably think of Asimo, Honda's cutesy dancing-and-soccer robot, or Qrio, Sony's jogging robot. Or perhaps you think of Transformers, or Gundam, or Neon Genesis Evangelion.
But either way, you probably *don't* think of 18th-century Edo-period tea-serving robots:
This Kabuki-styled doll approaches surprised guests with a full teacup on a tray; it stops walking when the teacup is taken, waits quietly, bows, then slowly turns around, smoothly scooting away with the empty teacup on its tray...As soon as they produce a version that can also draw a miniature katana and whirl smoothly around to slice off the fingers of the unsuspecting teacup profferer, I'm buying. (Glowing red eyes and laser cannon would be fine too.)
How does it work? When a tea cup is placed on the tray, the stopper is released by the whale spring attached to the doll’s arms; the spring forces the stopper to engage again when the cup is lifted from the tray.
Further reading: Robotics timeline, featuring similar contraptions.
[Link via Boing Boing]
Posted by chris at October 30, 2005 06:31 PM | Permalink