In which comedian Jimmy Fallon is discombobulated by robots

28 Apr

Watch artificial intelligence – the cutting edge of engineering – live up to its creepy image, as comedian and ‘The Tonight Show’ host Jimmy Fallon apprehensively lets a snakebot climb his leg, has a super-awkward conversation with the placid android Sophia, and gets all butterfingered with an expensive butterfly bot.

The snakebot, developed at Carnegie Mellon University in the US, can reach where other machines or people can’t, so it can be useful in tasks such as search and rescue, inspecting a nuclear plant, or, if it is built small enough, even surgery.

Developed at Hanson Robotics in Hong Kong, Sophia is a ‘social robot’ who can form relationships with people. She twinkles her eyes (sort of), smiles (sort of), raises her eyebrows, makes conversation, plays ‘rock, paper, scissors’, tells a joke, and teases Jimmy in a way that’s guaranteed to creep you out at least a little.

The eMotion butterfly robot is a prototype from Festo, a company based in Germany which has developed a ‘biomimicry’ platform that lets machines learn from nature. When not being threatened by Jimmy’s clumsiness, the butterfly bot not only flies, but also coordinates its behavior with other butterfly bots in the studio. Festo’s website notes that this intelligent networking creates a guidance and monitoring system, which could be used in the networked factory of the future.

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