Tasting robots

Back in the olden days, a king would have a cup-bearer to make sure his wine or food wasn’t poisoned. If it was poisoned, well, then the king would have to find a new one. If there wasn’t enough poison to kill him, he’d at least make sure it tasted the way it should as well.

Enter the 21st century. Not testing for poison, but rather that the recipes are uniform, Thailand has developed 2 robots (so far) that will taste-test recipes for Pad Thai and other dishes to make sure there is not more deviation than 5-10% from the recipes approved by Thailand’s government and it’s “Thai Delicious Committee”. They hope to develop 100 or more robots to make sure the recipes are uniform the world over.

Other countries are starting to join suit. In Spain, they have developed and “electric tongue” to differentiate between varieties of beer. In Denmark, they’ve developed a nano-sensor to evaluate wine’s quality.

Jody Victor

Rockstar Drones

There has been a lot of talk about drones in past weeks. Stories of Amazon using them to deliver packages, and of course we know they are used by the military. But here is a new use: music! KMel Robotics, known for building aerial video/photography solutions has a drone rock band.

You can watch their close to 4 minute video as they play 3 songs: Star Wars Theme, Carol of the Bells, and the National Anthem.

Jody Victor

Need a Robot?

There are a few types of robots you can get as a consumer. Willow Garage has a few offerings:
PR2 – a one-armed robot powered by ROS (Robot Operating System). You can watch a few videos of what it can do here, like play pool, fetch beer, clean up empty cans.

Turtle Bot – a small robot also powered by ROS. It can explore your house on its own, build 3D pictures, bring you food, and more. You can get a complete kit for $1,399.00 to build your own or $1,995.00 built for you from I Heart Engineering. You can also get it fully built for $1599.00 or the kit for $999.00 from Clearpath Robotics (not everything is included and it is currently sold out.)

~ Jody Victor