Friday, September 2, 2011

Fun and Weird For Friday

It's Friday, it is the start of a holiday weekend in the US, so I thought I'd share some fun things I found. Way back in the Dark Ages when robots first hit the commercial scene I was entranced by a review of one home robot that had a built-in set of sensors to detect life forms. The robot had a limited speech capability to make it friendly. The early models had some slight glitches; apparently one robot snuggled up to a toilet bowl (the size and shape somehow registered as sentient) and talked to it. Another robot used a heat sensor to get just a little too close to the fireplace, again thinking it was alive. But oh, I wanted one.

We have come a long way. I have eyed a Roomba, not necessarily because I need a robot vacuum cleaner but because I wanted to watch it interact with my cat. But now, things have gotten even better. Check these out:

RoboKing Triple Eye vacuum cleaner - it can spy on people, scope for dirt and you can control it via Smart Phone when you are stuck in a traffic jam and are bored to tears breathing exhaust fumes.

Bakebot: Plans for a robot to cook for you...this one needs some work before it goes commercial. I happen to prefer to be my own mad scientist in the kitchen. Especially while this device is still in the oven.

Play Rock Paper Scissors against a computer. You can play against a Novice or a Veteran. Then you can read what the computer is thinking. You will get sucked right into this one...really. When I played against a novice computer my results were: Win, Win, Tie, Lose, Tie, Tie. When I played against a veteran, my results were: Lose, Lose, Tie, Lose, Lose. The computer performed a complex seeming analysis of what I was thinking and then told me what 20,000 (or so) other people did that was similar to my strategy . When I played the Novice, I was actually trying to outwit it. When I played the Veteran I just decided to randomly wing it and it was quite engaging to see how the computer analyzed my winging strategy. You can get sucked in. Look how much I wrote about Rock Paper Scissors! So if you have no plans for the evening...

I really dislike mushrooms but I had a lovely time growing little yellow mushrooms with Mushroom Life and listening to them go "eep" "eep" "eep"; the faster I clicked the faster went the "eeps" and the faster the little yellow things popped up on the grid. More smiles on your face.

You can play Mushroom Life seriously of course. But after the spy vacuum, the half-baked robot cook, and doing battle with the computer over RPS, it seems fitting to work on making music out of popping mushrooms.

Have a nice weekend ("eep").

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