The future is here! Whether you’re in need of a back massage, a weather report, or even a pet, robots are here to help. Check out eight of the coolest new bots coming soon to a library, hospital, or home near you!
This robot violinist isn’t a musical genius—it just has a good grip. To show off its precision and movement, the Toyota Partner Robot played the instrument at the Shanghai World Expo in China. Engineers hope that these robot skills may someday assist the elderly with household tasks.
Just like a real dinosaur, Pleo the dino robot sleeps, eats, and explores. Don’t forget to give it lots of attention—Pleo responds positively to petting. It also reacts to light and temperature. It’s a real-life Jurassic World!
Tiro was first developed as a teaching assistant in an elementary school classroom, helping students in South Korea learn English. But when one of the engineers who helped create the robot got married, Tiro stepped up and performed the wedding ceremony.
These four robots zip up and down a collection of 1.5 million books at North Carolina State University library, retrieving obscure tomes for students and faculty in mere minutes. Together called bookBot, these librarians won’t ever tell you to quiet down.
Need someone to wake you up, tell you when to pack an umbrella, and read aloud your emails and text messages? Meet wakamaru! This robot takes care of you and itself—the digital helper will take itself to its charging station in your house when it’s running low on power.
Pets can relieve stress and make people happy. But hospital patients usually can’t snuggle with a real pup. Enter PARO—a fuzzy robotic harp seal pup that responds to touch and sound. Doctors hope that by snuggling this “pet,” patients will feel better, reducing their stress and making them more comfortable in hospitals.
If the iCub robot looks like a kid to you, that’s what its creators were hoping for—this robot was designed to look like a three-year-old child. And kids are great at learning, which is what the super-curious iCub is used for: to study how it would figure out the world and learn things the way you do!
The Curiosity robotic rover might be the most well-traveled robot—it works on Mars! Using advanced instruments to study the soil and climate, Curiosity helps scientists understand what Mars was like in the past and if the red planet ever hosted life.
Text by Allyson Shaw, NGS Staff
Photo credits: RUNGROJ YONGRIT, EPA, Newscom (Toyota Partner Robot); ASSOCIATED PRESS (bookBot); NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS (Curiosity); CHOI WON-SUK, Stringer, Getty Images (Tiro); Oli Scarff, Staff, Getty Images (iCub); RGB Ventures, SuperStock, Alamy (PARO); Robert Gilhooly, Alamy (Wakamaru); dpa picture alliance archive, Alamy (Pleo)