Roboticist Has Real Son Zeno, Robot Son Zeno

In science fiction writer Brian Aldiss' 1969 story Super-Toys Last All Summer Long, roboticist Henry Swinton and his wife are not allowed to have a child, due to overpopulation. So, Henry creates David, a synthetic boy named David. By the end of the story, though, Henry and his wife win the parenthood lottery, and will have a real son along with a robotic one.

Roboticist David Hanson can relate to this story. He has two little boys named Zeno in his house. An eighteen-month-old little boy and a little robotic boy.


(Zeno the robot boy)

Zeno (the robot son) is about 17 inches tall and weighs 6 pounds. Hanson and a team of roboticists at his company, Hanson Robotics, worked for five years to create Zeno. The robot boy, that is.

"It's a representation of robotics as a character animation medium, one that is intelligent," Hanson beams. "It sees you and recognizes your face. It learns your name and can build a relationship with you."

"...by coincidence they're both Zeno, and in other ways this robot has become more of a portrait sculpturally of the son, although it's almost coincidence," said Hanson, whose previous jobs include working as a character sculptor for The Walt Disney Co. "We didn't consciously sculpt this robot to look like him. It's the way things filter through the hands of the artist."

Zeno (the robot boy) confers wirelessly with the brains behind the machine - a PC running a variant of Massive Software, which enabled the graphics for the battle scenes in Lord of the Rings.


(Zeno robot boy, David Hanson, Zeno)

I met David Hanson briefly at NextFest 2005 (see NextFest 2005 - Festival Of Technovelgy to see some of its still sfnal devices), which was held in Chicago. He was introducing his Philip K. Dick robot, and seemed like a very nice, very well-grounded guy. He'd like to get the price on his robot boy down to the point where most people could afford one. A robot boy.

Via Robot Maker Builds Artificial Boy; thanks to Zac Hunter for finding this eerily-close-to-science-fictional story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/14/2007)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.' - Philip K. Dick

When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'

SRI MicroFactory Of Microrobots Recalls Dick's Autofac
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants... constructing something...' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

Rolls Royce 'Cockroach-Sized' Repair Robots To Crawl Inside Engines
'As if swarms of tiny animals were busily scurrying...' - Stanislaw Lem, 1954.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

LA Subway Scanner, As Seen In 'Total Recall'
'I'm afraid to tell you this Mr. Quaid, but you have suffered a schizoed embolism...'

Sion Electric Car Covered With Solar Panels
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.

ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.

When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'

Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'

'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'

Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'

Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.

Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'

Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'

Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.