Telepresence Robot Fetches Scones, Justifies Pricetag

This QB robot wandered out of the Anybots office into downtown Mountain View, Calif., looking for a snack

1 min read

Wondering what a $15k telepresence robot can do for you? WONDER NO LONGER. With the help of a 4G wireless hotspot, this QB wandered out of the Anybots office into downtown Mountain View, Calif., looking for a snack. A mile later, it found a Red Rock Coffee and ordered a berry scone, tipped something like 125% (!) and then rolled out. Classy.

While it’s a little hard to tell from the vid, I’m assuming that Anybots sent a chaperone of some sort along to make sure that nobody just grabbed QB by the neck and made off with it. And if they didn’t, well, let me know next time you send a robot out for coffee, because I totally want one and I think grand theft robot is the only way it’s gonna happen.

[ Anybots ]

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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