When asked what tasks they would most like to have robots do for humans, I’m pretty sure the number one or even the number 1001 answer would not be “pole-dancing.” Yet attendees at the recent CEBIT expo in Hanover, Germany, saw just that: two robotic strippers named Lexy and Tess doing a bump-and-grind around a pole while their LED faces blinked and winked come-hither looks to the crowd as if to say, “Put that bitcoin in my garter, you hot sexy tech boy.”
The robots were designed by British artist Giles Walker and controlled by a smartphone app written by the German company Tobit.software. Purchase price is $39,000 for one robot. If you need more than one, perhaps you should save your money for therapy.
If pole-dancing robots are too scandalous, perhaps one that simulates a pop singer’s gyrations is more to your liking. Students commissioned by Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology this week unveiled Robyt, a robotic version of Swedish pop star Robyn who lent her personal help to the project. Robyt has some dance moves that Lexy and Tess might want to incorporate for better tips.
Is this the best our robot designers can do? For the testosterone-challenged ones, I guess the answer is yes. Some sports-minded engineers at the German robotics firm Kuka put their hormones aside and developed a table-tennis-playing robot called the KR Agilus that took on legendary German player Timo Boll in a match. Boll wins in this CGI-enhanced video but the robot’s backhand is still impressive.
What would Klaatu and Gort think of these robots? If Lexy gave back rubs, Robyt sang jazz and KR Agilus was willing to swat pesky alien insects, they’d probably take them home with them.