Transformers among us: Five robots with crazy new abilities

transformer-real-life-autobot

There’s no testament to human ingenuity like a good robot. We love to report on cool new robots, whether they’re teaching kids English or roaming the halls of CES. In celebration of the robotic carnage that is Transformers: Dark of the Moon, we bring you five new robots with some seriously cool abilities. We’ve got everything from a bot that makes pancakes, to a love doll that now teaches dentists how to drill, to a team of robots that work together to solve problems in disaster situations. Though they will one day enslave and rule us all, for now it’s just plain fun to see what we can teach our metallic allies.

Lego Pancake Bot

To start out on a fun note, one man has constructed a CNC machine made entirely out of Lego Mindstorms, Lego bricks, and two ketchup bottles. Made to entertain his daughter, the machine can create pancakes of any design with a high degree of accuracy. In this video, you can see it create some delicious Mickey Mouse ears (via Gizmodo).

Love Doll becomes a dentist bot

This love doll has been transformed into a robot dental patient that reacts to the cleaning and procedures of dental students. It blinks and flinches in pain much like a real patient might. It can sneeze, shake its head, cough, gag, and close its mouth when its jaw starts to ache. More creepy, it can actually carry out basic conversations with the dentist in training, reports New Scientist. And like a good video game, when you’re done cleaning this robot’s mouth, it will give you feedback and a score.

A robot with skin

No, we haven’t quite learned how to graft actual skin onto robots, but researchers have developed the next best thing, a series of sensors that simulate the job of skin. Called the Boiloid Robot, Science Daily reports that this little guy has 31 hexagonal sensor modules on its body, which measure temperature, touch, and speed. These sensors supplement the robots camera eyes, infrared scanners, and gripping hands. Much like Steve Wozniak predicted in his somewhat creepy MSU commencement speech a month or so ago, this robot can now learn from its environment and fully interact, much like we do. Imagine if a robot knew when you tapped it on the shoulder or could feel the humidity on a hot summer day.

robot-with-sensor-skin

Robots that can talk to each other

University of Delaware researchers are working on a team of robots that can actually understand human language and communicate with one another, reports Live Science. These types of robots would be incredibly useful in dangerous situations where humans cannot go, like a disaster area. By communicating with one another, they can solve problems without the need for humans to control them. Don’t expect them to form into evil and good factions too soon though; these robots aren’t completely autonomous. When deployed, each robot would have its own set of abilities and they’d work together using each others special skills to accomplish their mission.

Paul: a robot that can draw what it sees

We know robots can print things on paper, but this robot takes it a step further. Using a camera, it can look at a person’s face and then sketch what it sees on a piece of paper, with an actual pen. We’re not quite sure on its methods (they don’t teach this technique in art school), but the end result wasn’t half bad for a one-armed robot. We can only imagine what would happen if you gave this guy a box of crayons.

Many more…

Robotic advancements seem to happen every day. While some seem to point toward the end of society as we know it, others look like us, and some are just plain cool. Hopefully when we finally create an actual transformer it will turn out more like Optimus Prime than Megatron.

Oh, and before we go, here is one last video. This is not an actual robot, but it is quite possibly the closest a human has ever come to becoming an actual Autobot. Did I mention that he can dance?

Emerging Tech

This unusual nature-inspired robot is equally at home on land or in the water

This intriguing, nature-inspired robot may look unusual, but it's impressively capable of moving on both land and water without problem. Heck, it can even travel on ice if necessary.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Deals

Clean up with robot vac, upright vacuum, and spot and stain remover deals

Whether you're gift shopping or need to get your house ready for the holidays, deals on household cleaning appliances are always welcome. We found Walmart's best deals on robot vacs, upright vacuum cleaners, and spot and stain cleaners.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Giveaways

Print your heart’s desire: Enter our giveaway to win a free Monoprice 3D printer

We’re giving away a $400 Monoprice MP Voxel 3D Printer. It's easy to use, especially for beginners, with its simple menu system and touchscreen display. It comes fully assembled so you can spend more time printing instead of setting up.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.
Deals

Take to the skies with these 5 drones on sale for under $50

On the hunt for some cool tech for under $50? We've rounded up 5 drones under $50 that you can still get before Christmas. These models are great for kids, adults, and anyone just getting started with drones.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Emerging Tech

This cryptocurrency wallet for kids isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds

So you’ve taught your 6-year-old child to read, write, and play nice with others. What’s next? Give them a base understanding of cryptocurrency, of course. This Kickstarter aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.