List of Realistic Creepy Robots. Kill them with Fire.

March 2, 2011

Beware: The following clips of the worlds creepiest robots are real and may keep you awake at night.


They’re coming to you real soon. Creepy Robots.

August 4, 2010

The Telenoid R1 Robot makes its first video appearance below. Compared with Casper the Ghost gone wrong, “Kill it with Fire” seems a fairly apt comment from YouTuber ThePeacemakerGer. Read more here at the Daily Mail:

The robot that will solve my rubik’s Cube

February 16, 2010

and it will do it in 10.75 seconds

don’t believe me, check this out

A very festive Robot Dance

November 26, 2009


Watch those little fellows go! (do want one of those robots – or all of them for that matter).


A robot that can keep a beat

July 29, 2009

We blog about robots quite a bit. Here’s one that finds objects it can turn into drums, beats the object, records the sound and then plays with it until it gets bored.


(As far as drumming goes it’s almost as cool as this: )

The video is from a while back. It’s an interview of creator Frits Lyneborg of

Interesting thoughts on AI.


Helping people in distress with robots

March 6, 2009

A group of academics is attempting to use flying "quadcopter" robots as a means of deploying self-assembling ad-hoc wireless networks.


The system uses cheap "quadcopters" – autonomous flying helicopter-style robots equipped with satellite navigation – bearing radio equipment based on VIA Pico-ITX computers.

there are still some issues with it though – the batteries cost approx. 1000 Euro and the flight time is only 20 min.

Mind you that 20 minutes is for flight time, giving the robots enough duration to position themselves and land on "high ground or a building somewhere", and provide network coverage for several hours.

The project is looking for research students to continue the work.

Even robots love Obama

November 6, 2008



ObamaBot’s University of Florida creators see the world as so imperfect, that they’d prefer to pal around with robots who would target their own planet.

The $250 ObamaBot stands 6-feet tall and regurgitates stump speeches by the president-elect while presumably cleansing the Earth of any naysayers.

You know you have made it when even the robots vote for you.

Puppy Vs. Robot! Epic Battle for Territorial Domination!

February 11, 2008


I have nothing to add, except “Go, Puppy!!!!111!”.

Happy Monday, everyone!

ANZ Robot call centre. Misleading advertising?

September 11, 2006

Has anyone seen this ad?
I quite liked it when it aired, and being an ANZ customer, it filled me with warm fuzzy wonderful emotions. OK OK, not really.

The basic premise is that all other call centres are answered and run by robots, but somehow ANZ‘s call centre is full of people…

…Seriously, this is quite deluded as I found out today.
I spent a good 20 minutes pressing hash this, pin that, card number this, #1 #3 #2 and several redials … before I got to speak to someone in person, who ultimatley gave me the phone number of my local branch.(Yes that was all I needed, and no, ANZ don’t include branch contact numbers on their website).

The best bit of all was that I jokingly asked the nice lady who finally answered if she was a robot, and she told me I was the third person that day to ask her the same thing. There you go.

ANZ, unfortunatley I have to say in the nicest possible way, your TV ad is a load of b@LL#cks.
It’s a shame because it is a good ad.

If you feel compelled to try it yourself… here’s the number : 13 13 14

Reader comment challenge:
Eventually someone will find this rant through search so if anyone is really bored, I challenge you to post your times trying to speak to someone in person at ANZ using the number above.

Pleo. Robot or Life Form?

September 6, 2006

You’re watching a video of a what’s billed as the worlds first life form. Pleo is a one-week old infant Camarasaurus – apparently. He sniffs, yawns, reacts to light and where you touch him. As far as consumer robots go, it’s fairly impressive although it does seem kind of slow to watch. I just kept waiting for it to jump up and start running around, but no such luck.  

I guess we’ll have to wait for the final price tag, but the speculation is around $US 250, and is due out for Xmas.
I’ll ask the staff tomorrow if we should swap our office dog Hank for one of these… hmmm.

Pleo’s website is here:

Power Pinata from Vodafone

December 3, 2010

Here’s a nice idea for a game. Smash the living daylights out of this Piñata using facebook, a robot connected to the internet and baseball bat. When the Piñata bursts it’s a free for all to grab a prize.

Here it is in action. It’s a little like watching cricket … the difference is the English are actually smashing the Aussies.

Anyone discovered any cheats to make the robot smash the Piñata a bit harder?

Lovely idea though. I’m jealous. @handypearce

Hacking the Xbox Kinect

November 29, 2010

I have to start this post with a whinge, I pre-ordered Xbox Kinect from JBHifi. When I pre-order something I do expect it to get to me on the day it gets released or at least the day after. We finally got our Kinect here at the office after it was already released for over a week. I could have just walked  down the street and picked on up.


but that is not what I want to talk about here. It is all setup in our reception area and we already had a lot of people trying it out and loving it.

There are some very smart people out there and it only took 3 hours before the Kinect was hacked and an open source driver was created so you can use it on your PC, a little later on your Linux box and then on your Mac.

and what are people doing with it? They are creating some awesome things. Here is a small collection of the things I came across:

Best interactive Puppet

Have your own lightsaber

Capture yourself in 3D

same guy in 3D with a little awesome surprise at 0:53 – watch it it’s worth it

use Kinect to control Windows 7

there are heaps more videos after the break

Read the rest of this entry »

How Exciting: Algorithm Detects Sarcasm

May 24, 2010

The amusing nerds over at Geekosystem, and the more serious nerds over at Slashdot are reporting in that someone has created an algorithm capable of picking sarcasm in written statements. Great, just great. That immediately ruins the chance of ever messing with some straight-laced, sensible robot slave in the future.

It’s called SASI (semi-supervised sarcasm identification algorithm), and apparently “SASI achieved a precision of 77% and recall of 83.1% “on an evaluation set containing newly discovered sarcastic sentences, where each sentence was annotated by three human readers.”” More info and a couple of thoughts after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

voice controlled quad copter

March 26, 2010

we all want one of those AR.Dones that we wrote about previously here and here, but now there is a quad copter that does what you tell it to do and I really really want one.


created by the Robust Robotics Group at MIT it responds to natural language voice commands that are sent to the helo and off it goes.

check out the video


love it


Creating Digital Solutions for Retail Environments

February 28, 2010

(photo by Sherbet)

The recent launch of Microsoft Surface in Australia last month is a reminder that we are entering the digital era of retail shopping.

While the prospect of building immersive digital retail solutions in malls and  stores is exciting, the luster of $50,000 in quarter inch thick screens and multi-touch tables will turn dull if the installation does not increase foot traffic, lift sales and/or enhance the customer service experience.

With this is mind; this post is a first draft in an evolving guidebook for delivering effective digital retail experiences.

At a high level, there are three digital opportunities available in most retail environments.

(1) Product & brand visualization: Sales tools that show shoppers the potential of a boxed up widget, break down complex products, or open up a window to the full product inventory.

(2) Branded entertainment: Installations that draw the attention of foot traffic through an interactive solution and/or provide valuable content on behalf of the brand.

(3) Branded information services: Solutions that add value to people with a form of some kind of practical application (a way finding tool, a calculator, some tips or tricks, etc.)

All of these activities hold the prospect of being interactive, traceable, personalized, integrated, manageable, and innovative digital solutions.

For anyone of these activities to become a success, you must build upon a strategy based on the needs of the users in each scenario. That’s the philosophy the Amnesia Razorfish Emerging Experiences Team is guided by as we begin our journey into these new digital sales & marketing scenarios.

During a shopping experience there are number of players but at the heart of the situation are a) the shopper and b) the sales team. The question becomes: what can we do to amplify the sales experience for both players and not get in the way of the sales process?

One way of avoiding the latter is by understanding what services customers currently value.    The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) publishes quarterly reports that show which brands are delivering quality customer service across a variety of retail verticals (department store, specialty retail, supermarket, banking, insurance, gas stations, to name a few).

According to ACSI commentator Professor Claes Fornell analysis of Q4 2009 polls, while the harsh post GFC climate in the U.S. forced the overall rating down by 1.4%, each vertical had a strong performer from which key assumptions can be made:

Top Performers:

Nordstrom: The Seattle based department store company prides itself in informed and helpful customer service. Customers agreed and gave them a 83% on the scorecard for a satisfying experience.

Small Banks: In a vertical that saw zero overall improvement and was hit hard this year, small banks scored well because they specialize in personalized customer service.

Publix Supermarkets: Although Wal-Mart grocery chains beat Publix on price, Publix scores high in another sector (Grocery & Pharmacy) that customers are generally not thrilled with the current experience. Their secret: in-store demos and organic goods.

These top performers give us three important insights when thinking about digital retail possibilities.

(1) People are not necessarily unhappy with their current human-based shopping experience. This makes sense because humans are not robots and we generally enjoy communicating with one another; even in a sales situation. Therefore, sales personnel are staying put and the goal of what we build should be to help the sales team convert and up-sell, not to erase the sales team.

(2) Grocery & pharmacy environments are filled with so many choices that customers need additional experiences to help them make a purchase. This insight parallels a survey of 5,000 U.S. grocery shoppers in 2008 that found that 65% of shoppers thought they did not have enough information to make an informed purchase (as quoted in Burke, 2008).

(3) Personalized services are greatly appreciated by shoppers; especially during major decisions like selecting a mortgage or investing for retirement.

While these conclusions are the tip of a very complex iceberg and the specific approach will vary from case to case, the major point to be made is that it is important to balance the thrill of amazing new technologies and possibilities with a foundation of strategic thinking. The novelty of new technology should never take backseat to delivering on practical business objectives.

The next chapter in this thread will be about the spatial dimension of out of home and retail digital strategy. Stay tuned

Brett Robinson, Emerging Experiences Program Manager


1. ACSI Quarterly Commentaries Q4 2009.

2.Behavioral Effects of Digital_Signage (2008). University of Indiana Press.

Pest Control. Literally.

September 25, 2009

Been impressed by all the little RC planes and helicopters in the toystore windows of late? Hirotaka Sato and his team at Berkeley have gone one or two steps further with this RC beetle, and no, it’s not a volkswagen.

cyborg beetle

Instead of building a robot from scratch, they use the insect’s own flight capacity and control it with pulses of electricity to its optic lobes.

Awesome addictive game

September 2, 2009


The purpose of the game is to escape on rooftops – running along and jumping over crates, chairs and robots.

All you need is 2 keys on your keyboard and no you don’t need a mouse.


Good luck – my record so far is 2295 meters.

here is the game:

Why I Love Japan #482

July 13, 2009

They build a life-sized Gundam. That lights up at night. And Moves.


Naturally, the internets are filling up with amazing shots of this thing. Particularly over at Pink Tentacle.

Why put up a giant Gundam? Oh, the 30th anniversary of the show or something. Not important. What IS important is that there is a GIANT ROBOT. In TOKYO. Hang on. This always ends badly.

BigPond connects to customers with Twitter

October 8, 2008

Telstra BigPond recently launched its new “support channel” to find and assist BigPond customers through the popular micro-blogging application, Twitter.


The BigPond email support team is watching for conversations about its services, jumping in to assist when necessary.

Since launching nearly a month ago, Telstra’s approach has been widely criticised for being too “robotic” and it appears the criticism has been noted, with a noticable change in tone of the @BigPondTeam in the following weeks.

Though not the first aussie Telco to jump onto Twitter – Internode have been publishing news items since May – they’re the first to be directly interacting with customers. Not surprisingly, Internode have started to directly communicate in the last week. iiNet have also come to the party, but with very few updates.

Optus, interestingly, don’t appear to be interesting in Twitter. @Optus has no updates and is probably  just acting as a placeholder.

BigPond are probably taking a leaf from Comcast’s book, here. Six months ago when TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington was having trouble with his broadband connection he tweeted this (warning: NSFW language) but, Comcast were watching.

You can see a fantastic Flickr photostream of Telcos and ISPs on Twitter by Mark Pollard. Also be sure to check out his collections of other companies on Twitter.

Hot30 on Messenger

October 8, 2008

Today Nine MSN & the Hot 30 Count down launched Heidi, the intuitive robot, who can hold a conversation with a sassy attitude while giving away prizes through enticing people to vote online.
By adding to your friends list, Heidi will come alive and prompt a conversation. Be offensive or ask personal questions and Heidi will respond with a witty or catty response.
Great campaign concept for its intended online demographic, it will be brilliant to see this campaign evolve and the tactics that Nine MSN & Hot 30 use to keep the momentum going.