Monday, April 9, 2012

In case you were worried...

You can now relax.

We have some mildly amusing, and wholly bemusing evidence today that there's nothing all that urgent, and the world has such an incredible abundance of resources we can, and should, just fritter them. I'll present two examples.

In Japan, which, as we know has a problem or two, really on the serious side; one of their most prominent corporations, Panasonic, announced today that it is in the final stages of commercializing a new robot, and is going to start selling it. Since this is NKH feed, I'll include some of the text:
"Japanese electronics maker Panasonic will start testing a shampooing robot with the aim of putting it on the market within a year. Panasonic announced on Monday that it will start the tests this week at a barber shop in Nishinomiya, western Japan.

"Sensors in the robot's hands scan the shape of a customer's head. The robot then wets and washes the hair with 24 'robo-fingers,' which Panasonic says recreates the feel of human fingers.

"Panasonic official Yukio Honda says the robot will help improve the quality of life for people receiving nursing care or those with disabilities. He adds that the company intends to install the robot in hair salons across Japan and put it on the nursing care market as soon as possible."

I confess, my mind boggles a bit. Japan is struggling with huge youth unemployment, is trying to import health care workers from the Philippines and Malaysia- so... yeah, this seems like a great idea. Chop human contact further for the aging and disabled, and just run them through the new car-wash machine. I suppose it's possibly that it could actually take 3 people to run and maintain the machine now; instead of the one shampoo-girl it used to... that would improve the jobs situation, right?

The second example is from the good ol' USA college community.

"A team of engineers at Purdue University has set the world record for "Largest functional Rube Goldberg machine" with a mind-boggling contraption that takes 300 steps to inflate and pop a balloon. In doing so, they bested themselves, as they had the previous record, with 244 steps. "

But wait; it gets better. "14 members worked on this project over a span of six months -- for a total of 5,000 hours."

Ok, so call me a cranky-pants. I realize, engineers just want to have fun; but really- couldn't they have had 5,000 hours worth of creative fun working on something that actually had a chance of being useful, somewhere, somehow? It seems a bit excessive to work so hard on something where the entire point of the work- is that it is useless.

Or, go to YouTube if Blogger is cranky.

Grump grump. Oh, look; I like Rube-Goldberg gimmicks too. Yes, their uselessness and pointlessness is useful and educational. But. Maybe it can be overdone? I mean- they could have built a robot that can trim toenails in assisted living homes. The Japanese are way, way, ahead of us.

And, they might have asked for a little help from some student with experience in video making...

1 comment:

knutty knitter said...

I heard today that someone had invented a solar powered sun bed!!!!

Says it all really.

viv in nz