Your Plastic Pal Who’s Fun To Be With

TechnologyI’ve been following the development of humanoid robots for some time now — the girls are big fans of Asimo — but to date they haven’t quite been ready to roll out to the masses. While people like those at Honda (or Sony, or Toyota) have made phenomenal advances with the body, the brains — arguably the most significant part of a true robot — have been developed by any number of folks (mostly in the realm of academia), with radically different (and usually incompatible) approaches. Not to mention that, as it stands, the per-unit cost is way beyond the scope of my wallet.

But, on July 16th of this year, that’s all going to change. Say hello to the NS-5. A new company, Chicago-based U.S. Robot and Mechanical Men (a.k.a. “3 Laws Safe,” which strikes me as an amusing little homage), has combined the existing (though improved) robot “body” with a self-contained “brain.” I think one of the coolest things is that it’s connected to the ’net — wirelessly — 24/7; and no, it’s not Windows-based. It uses the Teresa 2.1.2 OS, and system upgrades are done automatically, for the life of the product. You can see their new commercial here — very Apple-esque.

Sure, the NS-5 will — for now — be a toy for the rich (think “Segway”), but the company predicts that within the next few decades, the Nestor series will become more affordable for everyday people. They’re already taking preorders — but for those of us who aren’t quite ready to take out a second mortgage, you can customize your own NS-5 (at least cosmetically) without having to complete the actual purchase. Check it out — and get ready to start seeing these things on the streets near you!

Well, I suppose that depends on what neighborhood you hang out in.


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