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Automated robots look less threatening in seal suits
March 2, 2011 1:59 PM   Subscribe

"A ball-throwing robot with visual feedback" sounds dull, so let's hide the robot arm in a plush seal suit! Now that ball-throwing robot with stereo vision looks like a seal playing basketball! Just ignore the robotic hand coming out of it's mouth, and the un-seal-like movements. (via)
posted by filthy light thief (32 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's terrifying.
posted by The World Famous at 2:01 PM on March 2, 2011


That is unequivocally the most horrifying thing I have ever seen.

Brain. Bleach. Etc.
posted by cthuljew at 2:05 PM on March 2, 2011


Great. Now let's see it compete on Jeopardy against the Harlem Globetrotters.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:09 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
posted by Think_Long at 2:10 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


So when the terminators come, they'll have stereo vision and will make 3 pointers all day long? Our defense: the Harlem Globetrotters. They'll never expect the basketball yoyo.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:11 PM on March 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


Just ignore the robotic hand coming out of it's mouth

No.
posted by aramaic at 2:12 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


And what rough baller, its hour come round at last,
Dunks towards Neo New York to jam?
posted by codacorolla at 2:12 PM on March 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH
posted by angrycat at 2:13 PM on March 2, 2011


Anyway, that's very impressive, and unlike the towel folding robots I've seen before (or the sock poling one) it doesn't take forever to do. I guess the difference is that it's relatively quick to calculate a trajectory, but much harder for a robot to understand fabric on a 3 dimensional plain? Funny how computers are so good at stuff we're so bad at and vice-versa.
posted by codacorolla at 2:15 PM on March 2, 2011


I think it's totally cute when a robot murders a seal and wears its flesh like a leg warmer.


Wait, no I don't.
posted by lumpenprole at 2:19 PM on March 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's pretty neat, but come on engineers! Try not to sound so bored when you're narrating the video.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 2:20 PM on March 2, 2011


codacorolla: Funny how computers are so good at stuff we're so bad at and vice-versa.

In this case, it's a question of math. Once the calculations are understood (the force required to move the ball into the net), repeating that task is trivial as the details are fairly fixed. Make a robot that can compete with real people on the court, and then it's really impressive.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:23 PM on March 2, 2011


In this case, it's a question of math. Once the calculations are understood (the force required to move the ball into the net), repeating that task is trivial as the details are fairly fixed. Make a robot that can compete with real people on the court, and then it's really impressive.

Yeah, I guess the real "Watson Moment" (please, please excuse that phrase) would be if it was rolling around the court compensating for momentum, and dodging people trying to block its shots.
posted by codacorolla at 2:27 PM on March 2, 2011


I knew I should have checked that showboating Globetrotter algebra.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:30 PM on March 2, 2011


That's terrifying.

Needs creepy tag.
posted by nzero at 2:30 PM on March 2, 2011


It's not a robotic seal. It's a robotic alien fetus. The seal is real.

(Which is more than can be said for the animals in the third link, which are not seals, but sea lions.)

Did anyone else notice the how the robo-narrator said the exhibition gets lots of "appalls" (presumably meaning "applause"), and then we see the robo-seal making a 3-pointer to much bored silence? Yeah. Maybe the robo-narrator didn't mispronounce that after all.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:34 PM on March 2, 2011


nzero: Needs creepy tag.

Done and done. Now people can find more creepy things, if this one wasn't enough.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:57 PM on March 2, 2011


That seal dreams of being upgraded to uncanny valley territory.
posted by GuyZero at 3:16 PM on March 2, 2011


Did anyone else click the second Youtube link first and sit there for a few joyful seconds thinking wow, these robot seals are very realistic before realising the truth?

No? Just me then. I need some more coffee.
posted by fight or flight at 3:25 PM on March 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


*reaches for club*
posted by brundlefly at 4:49 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not a robotic seal. It's a robotic alien fetus. The seal is real.

PHASE 1
Objective: Teach humans to fetch.
Status: Completed.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:19 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


So when the terminators come, they'll have stereo vision and will make 3 pointers all day long? Our defense: the Harlem Globetrotters.

A chilling vision of the future...
posted by burnmp3s at 5:19 PM on March 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Didn't creep me out at all. Just looked shitty.
posted by cashman at 5:46 PM on March 2, 2011


You know, this robot is a testament to the success of robotics and artificial vision. With that said though, it isn't that amazing that a glorified toy can do this. My son's stuffed sheep scores against him all the time with the 5' basketball rim. The sheep also has utterly stuffed him on an attempt to drive to the hoop as well, and done a perfect slam dunk.

I won't lie, apparently sheep become great basketball players when they play on mini baskets with mini basketballs, and you cram your hand up their butts.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:47 PM on March 2, 2011


I found it more hilarious then creepy. The seal costume is just such a non sequiter

Btw a human beat Watson at Jeopardy in an exhibition match. So suck it robots. We're still number 1!
posted by delmoi at 12:15 AM on March 3, 2011


That is unequivocally the most horrifying thing I have ever seen.

They expected that, the last things she says is, "we get a lot of appalls in this exhibition."
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:18 AM on March 3, 2011


That falls squarely in the unholy valley.
posted by itstheclamsname at 9:03 AM on March 3, 2011


Just wait until it learns to designate it's own targets. And throw knives.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:10 AM on March 3, 2011


That falls squarely in the unholy valley.

The Unholy Volley.
posted by The World Famous at 11:14 AM on March 3, 2011


delmoi: Btw a human beat Watson at Jeopardy in an exhibition match. So suck it robots. We're still number 1!

Which game were you watching? This article says "In 100 test matches against "Jeopardy!" winners, the computer won about 65 percent of the time," but those were test matches to check the system. When it came to "real" games, Watson won the practice match and the televised matches, and it even did a typically un-human thing and sought out the Daily Doubles, where most players start from the top of a category and go down.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:09 PM on March 3, 2011


Somebody was bound to, so...
I for one salute our new Juggling Overlords
posted by youhavetoreadthistwice at 3:43 PM on March 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which game were you watching?

Maybe you should click the link I included to find out. Or actually read your own wikipedia link.
posted by delmoi at 8:07 PM on March 3, 2011


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