|Watch a video clip featuring author Timothy Hornyak--and robots|
How Much Do You Really Know About Robots?
(After reading Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots, youll know a lot!)
Q: Where did the term "robot" first appear, and who coined it?
A: Karel Capek, pronounced [KARL CHAP-ek], in his 1921 play R. U. R. (Rossums Universal Robots).
Q: One of Japans first "robots" was a clockwork servant who would bring guests a cup of tea, then return to the server with the empty cup. In what century did these "tea-serving dolls" as they were known, appear?
A: The Eighteenth century, Japans Edo period.
Q: The animated hero Astro Boy may have 100,000 horsepower strength, but does he have a human soul?
A: Yesand more importantly, he can fire bullets out of his backside!
Q: Wakamaru is a robot created by Mitsubishi that can recite news and weather forecasts that it receives from the Internet, look into peoples eyes when being spoken to, and charge itself when its power is running low. For what purpose was Wakamaru built?
A: For domestic help.
Q: The RoboCup, in which robot teams of soccer players from around the world compete, has as its ultimate goal the creation of a team of robots who will be able to take on the reigning World Cup champions. By what year do the RoboCups founders hope to have a team of robot Beckhams ready to face humanitys top players?
Q: What teams humanoid robots won the RoboCup in the summer of 2006and in several years before that?
A: Team Osaka (which is managed by Systec Akazawa Co. and includes robotics experts from Osaka University).
Q: Which team won in the Small Robot League this past summer?
A: Carnegie-Mellon Universitys CMDragons.
Q: Sonys Aibo robot, first available to consumers in 1999, was not a humanoid robot. What did it resemble?
A: A puppy.
Q: One of the most advanced robots in the world is ASIMO, a humanoid who can recognize faces, serve drinks, and run at 4 miles per hour. ASIMO rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange in 2002, and was parodied on a South Park episode in which Eric Cartman tried to pass himself off as a robot called "AWESOM-O." What Japanese corporation created ASIMO? A: Honda.
Q: In 2006, android maker Hiroshi Ishiguro unveiled an android clone of what person?
A: Himselfhe figured it would help cut his workload in half!
Its a fascinating history, rendered in words and bright photographs. -- The Associated Press