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Next-gen Robot Toys to Fetch Beer 144

Posted by samzenpus
from the finally-something-useful dept.
FleaPlus writes "The Boston Globe reports that WowWee Toys, the creators of robots like the hack-friendly Robosapien series, has announced a collaboration with Evolution Robotics. WowWee's next generation of robots will make use of Evolution's tech for visual object recognition and indoor navigation, hopefully with future versions being able to not just entertain, but also 'perform useful tasks such as fetching a beer or even helping to carry the groceries.'"
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Next-gen Robot Toys to Fetch Beer

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  • Nice (Score:5, Funny)

    by b0wl0fud0n (887462) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @10:56PM (#15063358)
    Now I don't need my wife anymore.
    • Re:Nice (Score:2, Funny)

      by Elvis77 (633162)
      Well just for one thing really...
    • They haven't built in that functionality yet.


      (Wait for the next revision.)
      • by gold23 (44621)
        They haven't built in that functionality yet.
        He's not making use of that functionality currently anyway.
    • Beer handling robots from a toy company? Anyone else see a potential clash of ideals here?

      ...unless of course, these are to be sold in adult toy stores. If that's the case, I'd ask it to do more than just bring me beer.
    • Re:Nice (Score:5, Funny)

      by GeorgeMcBay (106610) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @11:17PM (#15063469)

      Now I don't need my wife anymore.


      You should probably sell her now, before this things come out and ebay gets glutted with used wives, driving the selling price way down.
    • 1. A /. user actually attracted a female? wait wait, AND got married? CONGRATS DUDE.
      2. But but... what about SEX? Or do you have a string of mistresses in every big city, you sly fox you?

      And lastly, RELATIVELY on topic: Nice that it serves beer, but where are the female robots dammit! (and I believe I speak for every lonely /.er here, including myself.)
    • Re:Nice (Score:2, Funny)

      by flubbergust (818863)
      Its no Cherry 2000.
    • Are you certain about that? I think there's one more attachment that needs to be placed on the robot. Of course optimally the roboot should be about what, 2.5 to 3 feet high if you get my drift. And it should have a flat surface on top for a place to set your beer down at the critical moment.
    • A woman is driving through the southwest when she picks up an old Indian woman hitch-hiker. As the old woman is getting in the car, she notices a box on the floor. The woman driving informs her "I got a case of beer for my husband" to which the old Indian lady replies "Hmm... good trade!"
  • by lovedew (964626) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @10:57PM (#15063362) Homepage
    perform useful tasks such as fetching a beer or even helping to carry the groceries.

    Is it just me who find it unnecessary to mention beer and grocery in the same sentence, aren't they the same?
    • Damn right! Pork chop in a bottle if its not in the horse piss category.

      As for sex , umm guys that's what 'mods' are for. No not the /. ones who screw you because you're funnier than they are, I mean 'modifications'. Check out the fleshlight [fleshlight.com] , all three needed openings right in one place.

      Some servos would be needed to dispense lube and some coding for a more 'intuitive' vibe action however I think we could come up with something.

      Only thing I can't get past is the self-cleaning feature I know we'd all want.
    • No they are not the same. Beer is simply the most important grocery. The robot could help you carry other groceries such as, cigars, mags, condoms, lube, skittles (to mix with you beer and make skittlebrau), ammunition, handcuffs, plastic fake dog poo, and other things you get every time you go shopping.
  • by Phantombrain (964010) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @10:58PM (#15063367) Journal
    I can understand saying "It will be able to fetch a ball". I can understand "It can open a door", but "Can get a beer"? What is this "Toy" Company trying to market to kids? Don't get me wrong, I think a robot that could fetch beer would be kind of cool, but by actually including that in an article one could accuse them of Promoting alcohol consumption by kids.

    I'll admit it, I am an ignorant American, but I am pretty sure that in most cultures teaching kids that their robot could fetch a beer is not a good thing.

    • "I'll admit it, I am an ignorant American, but I am pretty sure that in most cultures teaching kids that their robot could fetch a beer is not a good thing."

      Well, then, what's so wrong about marketing to adults? Why does everything have to be marketed to kids?

      I'm honestly sick and tired of so much of the culture being so kid focused, there's not much left for the adults to enjoy.
      • "I'm honestly sick and tired of so much of the culture being so kid focused, there's not much left for the adults to enjoy."

        Umm. We've got legal porn, cigarettes and alcohol.
        • Don't forget hookers!

          Granted, only legal in a few states ... but there's also gambling, if that's more your style; high-risk sports ... not to mention all the toys that are priced out of the range of kids. I have yet to see a performance car that's marketed at 10 to 13-year-olds, although admittedly I haven't watched the Disney channel in a while. Who knows what the car companies will do as they get desperate enough.
      • I'm honestly sick and tired of so much of the culture being so kid focused, there's not much left for the adults to enjoy.

        (Tangent warning)

        I remember being a kid, and being so pissed off that the world was designed for thirty-somethings to enjoy. When I was sixteen, there was absolutely nothing for teenagers to do besides sit around and conspire against The Man.

        Now that I'm older, I'm doubly pissed because all that stuff that I imagined adults enjoying while I was young appears to have vanished, and every
    • Because a "toy" is only for kids?

      You know this is slashdot don't you. Check out thinkgeek.com some time, let me know what you find.

      think geek, if you like that endoresement, you'll love my green lazer pics... I just need a green lazer. email me for address.
    • Then it can get a lite beer.
    • We've got a childhood obesity epidemic. Make the little blighters fetch their own beer. That way they'll get some exercise.

      While they're at it, have em fetch me one too!

    • That's because in most other cultures, fetching beer for dad is one of the first things kids learn to do.

  • I am going to run out and patent the "Beer Quality Recognition System" that way my robot can tell the good beer from the bad.
    • Of course I will also patent a system that can measure the level of intoxication in order to the exact level of quality necessary to maintain a pleasant brewed beverage experience, while also minimizing the cost associated with said experience.
      • Of course I will also patent a system that can measure the level of intoxication in order to the exact level of quality necessary to maintain a pleasant brewed beverage experience

        Oh so you mean it stops you from getting total beer goggles yet still allows you to turn some bow into wow?
      • No robot of mine will ever limit my intake... However he very well could replace my fat tire, black butte porter, etc with a Natty Ice if I am to hammered to know the difference.


        As long as he keeps bringing them I am OK.


        The system you speak of is the "canine-protection system" I will also have patents pending for this.
    • As we all know, the one-ness of a one is direclty proportional to the coldness. Nothing beats a cold one, but on a warm summers day, a cool one can be quite refreshing. A warm one is hardly a one at all...
    • Bad Beer????!!!!!

      That's just crazy talk
    • Maybe someone can also patent a robot that finds the fabled free-as-in-beer type beer, thereby having the robot pay for itself with free tasty beverages.

      Also, I think we can start saying 'convenient as in beer' as opposed to 'convenient as in you're lying'.
  • Next generation? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by scourfish (573542)
    Let me introduce yourself to Nolan Bushnell's brand new prehipheral of the 80's [atarimagazines.com].
  • by h8god (946430)
    Wow! How lazy are we that we need a robot to "fetch a bear, or help carry the groceries"!!! come on ppl, get off your butt and DO something!

    • Wow! How lazy are we that we need a robot to "fetch a bear, or help carry the groceries"!!! come on ppl, get off your butt and DO something!


      When my Slashdot posting bot arrives, expect a long and well reasoned rebuttal to your post.
    • If my robot could go out and fetch bears, I certainly wouldn't want it to bring them to me. Hey, that brings up an idea for me, a robot that goes out and hunts.
    • Do something like... build a robot to do things for me!
    • ... so you don't have to break a sweat!

      Of course I'm doing something to be healthy: I drink in a sports bar, ride in a Sports Utility Vehicle, play golf on my PC and wear running shoes around the office.

    • You're right. But then who will construct robots then? Maybe I can build a robot to take over my robot inventing duties....
    • Not only is this halariously funny, but it brings up a good point. Imagine: You're thirsty, just had a long day, you want to sit back an watch sports and have a beer. To you program your uber-bot to go get you one, but you can't speel so you type "get bear." Like two days later here comes uber-bot with a live bear (or a dead one) trailing behind it into your living room. We seriously need enough AI to make up for simple mistakes.
    • I dunno about the beer, but my grandma could really use a robot that brings in her groceries for her. Both my grandparents are doing well for their age, but they're both approaching 80 and aren't up for as much physical exertion as they used to be. And some of those groceries, especially the fruit and veg, can be pretty hefty.

      Of course, beer is a good promo point because it brings humour to the situation, but I'm betting they're not going to be stupid enough to restrict it only to beer-fetching. If it ca
  • by robotsrule (805458) * on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @11:01PM (#15063380) Homepage
    Yes, it's the first robot to come with special Lite detection sensors that automatically throw the beer out if it's a Lite beer.
  • by Elvis77 (633162) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @11:02PM (#15063387)
    Isn't fetching beer a violation of the first law of Robotics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_laws_of_roboti cs [wikipedia.org])
  • Great (Score:4, Funny)

    by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @11:03PM (#15063397)
    Meh. My trusty Radio Shack Robie Sr. [aol.com] has been fetching my beer (well, cokes, when I was younger) for twenty years. His cassette player (on which programs are stored) is getting a little rusty though.
    • i remember Robie Jr.. which was like a remote control car - which has a robot shaped inflatable on it..
  • We had an office over the road from the Carlton United Brewery factory in Victoria, Australia. My office looked directly over a beer-barrel conveyor belt. There was a hardware store around the corner with enough copper pipe to build a delivery system from the vats on the next floor up, gravity fed directly into my office. I drew up a plan and technical diagram and then presented it to the receptionist at the factory. She then passed it on to someone else with a wink and a smile (pretty blonde, made my day)
  • The next gen of robots is going to revolt and enslave the human race, i mean, they are already getting beer for pepole.
  • I swear if anyone one makes the obligatory "I for one welcome our new robotic beer fetching overlords" joke I'll mod'em down. I don't know how that joke still gets mod points. I love the Simpsons too, but chill people, I don't know how many times I've read that joke today.
  • ...fetch speech?
  • 'perform useful tasks such as fetching a beer or even helping to carry the groceries.'

    Finally, a useful robot. Not one of those pussy robots that serve in hospitals, dispensing life saving medications.
  • Beer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nizo (81281) * on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @11:59PM (#15063648) Homepage Journal
    Of course several dorm-sized fridges placed around the house full of beer would probably work better than the robot.
    • Of course several dorm-sized fridges placed around the house full of beer would probably work better than the robot.

      But what happens when you run out of beer in the fridge closest to you? if you're that lazy you won't want to take the few steps to the next closest. THATS when you fetching robot comes in handy....
    • Where the robot shines over small fridges is that you can modify the robot's software to turn on the setuid bit. Then it will bring you root beer.
  • It's very simple.

    Sexbot = endless billions in profit

    What is so difficult for the robotics industry to comprehend here?

  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @12:11AM (#15063686) Journal
    I for one welcome our new robotic beer fetching overlords.

    Please read previous posts before modding... (apologies to Linquizic ;-)

  • "fetching a beer" is a blanket statement.
    fetching a beer from where ?
    Does it buy it from the liquor store ?.. or from my fridge ?
    .. or from the table nearby ?
  • Asahi Beer have developed a robot [asahibeer.co.jp] that not only keeps the beer cold but opens and pours it for you too...
  • I have a gut feeling that this will spawn a new geekism, along the lines of Zawinski's Law, "Every UNIX program expands until it can read mail, etc.":

    "Every robot design expands until it can fetch beer. Those which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can."

  • by FleaPlus (6935) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @01:52AM (#15064080) Journal
    Hm... I originally included a couple of links which show how the technology works, but they were unfortunately removed from the submission. (Also, in retrospect I really should have made the title "Next-gen Robot Toys Smart Enough to Fetch Beer," as it probably would have increased the level of discussion a little more.) I'll go ahead and add them here...

    The first bit of technology Evolution Robotics will probably be contributing is their ViPR [evolution.com] (Visual Pattern Recognition) tech, which allows for real-time recognition of objects in the environment. It's really quite impressive to see it in action -- it can learn how an object looks using just a single training example, has a high recognition rate, is resilient to occlusion/rotation/scale, and can operate at 15fps on an ordinary computer. It works by efficiently extracting a few hundred SIFT [wikipedia.org] (scale-invariant feature transform) features from an image, and then learns what affine arrangement of them indicate an object. A downloadable demo is available on the ViPR page.

    Their SIFT-based ViPR techniques work -very- well on rigid objects, like labels, signs, furniture, cups, and pretty much any sort of static pattern. They tend to work less well on deformable objects, like faces and people.

    The other piece of technology is NorthStar, [evolution.com] used for indoor navigation. This uses a projector to shine some IR light spots on the ceiling. An IR-sensitive camera on the robot can see where the light spots are, allowing it to easily determine its location relative to the projector, so it can basically create a map of its environment using projector-relative coordinates.
    • You know, it's a shame that the /. editors strip out the stuff that really makes this "News for Nerds," instead settling on a dumbed-down version of the submission that results in a generally lame discussion. I know Taco explained recently that they only like one or two links, but it just seems sad that "Nerds" wouldn't be interested in the details that make a technology work, especially when they're so obviously relevant.

      Offtopic, I know. Sorry. Anyway, thanks for restoring your submission; I, for one,
  • by jolshefsky (560014) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @02:00AM (#15064098) Homepage
    Half the mission is accomplished! Now, can I have sex with it?
  • Great (Score:2, Funny)

    by MHPanruka (966194)
    How many beers will it take before it gets a plunger and starts screaming EX-TERM-INATE EX-TERM-INATE EX-TERM-INATE.
  • You know, we got the brainpower to put together a "thinking" robot. What will we make it do? Help the handicapped? Protect kids from harm? Disarm bombs and go places where you better not put a human being?

    No.

    We create a robot that can fetch you some beer.

    I have a gut feeling we'll be seeing something along those lines somewhere in a Futurama... oh wait. No. :(
  • When the roboraptor came out I went and got one, because well, it looked damn cool. However, in real operation, the thing was total crap. It could barely walk on carpet, never mind tile floor, and it didn't so much walk as it did shuffle. The noises it made were tinny and annoying, and it ate _a_lot_ of batteries.

    I still have it, it sits on top of my bass amp where it still looks cool, but it never gets used because it doesn't work worth a damn. My advice to people looking to buy WowWee products is to t
  • side note: I am still reeling from the fact that someone fixed the CAPTCHA alt text - although they don't use title and they don't use rel="nofollow" in story links. Now real comment:

    Many years ago women replaced a primary role of men in their lives with a simple motor and batteries.

    Undeterred, man has conquered the last remaining requirement for women in our lives. First, there was the microwave and ready to serve meals. Now, all hail:

    Beer. Cold. And Free. Now, I mean Free as in Free (Open Beer). Yes. It t

Everything that can be invented has been invented. -- Charles Duell, Director of U.S. Patent Office, 1899

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