Shigeki Sugano, professor of mechanical engineering at Waseda University, recently unveiled Twendy-One, an E.T. lookalike robot that has soft hands and fingers that gently grip, enough strength to support humans as they sit up and stand, and supple movements that respond to human touch. T.On can also pick up a loaf of bread without crushing it, serve toast and help lift people out of bed.
Twendy-One has taken nearly seven years and a budget of several million dollars to pull together all the high-tech features, including the ability to speak and 241 pressure-sensors in each silicon-wrapped hand, into the soft and flexible robot. For this price tag the robot put toast on a plate and fetched ketchup from a fridge when asked, after greeting its patient for the demonstration with a robotic "good morning" and "bon appetit."Ultimately the robot will become an assistant to the ill for elderly, but for now, it is still a work in progress. Twendy-One has just 15 minutes of battery life and its computer-laden back has a tendency to overheat after each use.
"The robot is so complicated that even for us, it's difficult to get it to move," Sugano said.
So to recap: It has soft hands, helps get ketchup, says "good morning" and "bon apetit" and has approximately 15 minutes run time before overheating. Sounds like my boyfriend.
I don't know about you, but for about 15 bucks and two AA batteries you can have a mechanical friend that's cheaper, easier to use and and a lot more reliable.As you were....