Pinokio Robotic Desk Lamp

By: on February 05, 2013

I'm not really sure what the point of Pinokio the robotic desk lamp is. Like, I'm not even sure he lights up or provides any practical desktop service at all. But look how cute. He's like a cautiously inquisitive little kid who quickly gains confidence after a few minutes of interaction. But then of course he starts feeling comfortable and becomes kind of a little punk. Look at the guy in the video humoring and playing games with him for the requisite amount of time adults should feel compelled to acknowledge the presence of children, and then politely trying to communicate that he's had his fill by flipping Pinokio's off switch. Instead of accepting that fun time is over and ceasing all activity, that rascal lamp keeps turning himself back on! He won't quit and go away to read a book or take a nap or do whatever it is well-behaved lamps should do at the behest of their seniors. He requires constant minding and attention. Geez, next thing you know you'll have to feed him and buy him Nikes.

Shanshan Zhou, Adam Ben-Dror, and Joss Doggett designed Pinokio the Rapscallion in the form of a "humble anglepoise desk lamp", and then infused him with equal parts robot and computer algorithm. He demonstrates an awareness of his environment--particularly people--and is capable of expressing a dynamic range of behaviors. Including the refusal to allow anyone who has turned him on to put him back to sleep. The Pinokio team has incorporated a combination of algorithms, electronic circuitry, and structural modifications to enable lamp emulation of animal traits and emotional sympathies.

While you and I may see Pinokio as a nifty toy, particularlly for practical joke endeavors (though seriously, he should retain the basic illumination functions he no longer seems to have) his engineers are more out to explore the possibility of creating an algorithm that doesn't just serve as an obedient tool, but lives. That incorporates user input to increase its cognizance of a situation, and then uses that information to independently decide how to react. Pinokio is part of the team's quest to construct a "living algorithm."

Not to be Mr. Wet Blanket, but I'm not sure I like the sound of that. Isn't this how I, Robot and The Matrix started out? From desk lamp to world domination? No, thank you. I'll stick with my algorithm-free bionic robot bopper cars.

Check it out

SpinX Toilet Cleaning Robot

$198 - $249 from SpinX »

Cleaning the toilet. A chore so crappy that when I was in college my housemates and I agreed to just not do it. Ah the nights of too much tequila and Taco Bell that could have benefitted from the SpinX. A robot that cleans...

Buy Now

Star Wars First Order AR Stormtrooper Robot

$299.99 from Amazon »

UBTECH's First Order Stormtrooper arrives trained (built-in AR features), armed (app-enabled), and ready for the Dark Lord's (that's you) commands. Aspiring Vaders can interact with the robot using voice commands, and...

Check it out

Aire Self-Flying Robotic Home Assistant

$699 - $749 from Aevena Robotics »

Aire's approach, a robotic home assistant that flies autonomously, is verrrry interesting. Especially considering my first order of business when I catch something flying autonomously around my condo is to swat or Bug-A-Salt...

Check it out

North Sense Human Compass Implant

$350 from Cyborg Nest »

I've wished I were a human bulldozer. A human airplane. A human beatbox. But a human compass? Never crossed my mind before North Sense....

Buy Now

Interactive Walking & Talking Einstein Robot

$199 from Amazon »

Hi! My name is (what?) My name is (who?) My name is...Al Einstein. Hey kids, it's the Slim Shady of your grandparents' generation. The amazing, groundbreaking genius Professor Einstein. He forever changed the world of...

Check it out

Kuratas Robot - Rideable Battle Mech

$1.3 million from Suidobashi Heavy Industry »

Me: One 13-foot-tall, 9,920-pound menacing robot that I can either ride and pilot with mere hand and body gestures from a cockpit, or control remotely with my 3G connection, please....

Check it out

Mk. III MegaBot - Piloted Battle Mech

MegaBots October 2017 Update: A couple months (years?) late, but the duel has an official stream date - October 17 at 10pm ET here on Twitch....

Check it out

Tertill Solar-Powered Weeding Robot

It's a weeding robot, not a weed robot, but the Tertill gets just as many props for helping out with the most tedious of yard work as it would for...what would a weed robot do, anyway? Roll joints and pack bowls? Turn...

Check it out

Kobi Autonomous Yard Work Robot

$3,999 from Kobi »

Kobi eats snow for breakfast! Kobi mows lawns with the stamina of a gamer sitting down to Gears of War 4 for the first time. Kobi sucks up leaves and spits them out like a piece of sushi that looks delicious on the plate...

Check it out

Steampunk Optimus Prime

$17k from Etsy »

My theory is that this might actually be Optimus Prime and this guy has captured him, found some way of disarming him, and is now trying to sell him. I don't know if I'd be comfortable sleeping with this guy roaming around...

Check it out

Exo-Gauntlet - CO2 Powered Exoskeleton

$3,300 from Bionic Concepts »

JP Rishea masterminds a legion of sick conglomerations of metal and power, but the Exo-Gauntlet is probably his most irrationally needful of them all. I guess one could technically argue that it has a few practical applications...

Check it out

Cyborg Tattoos

I'm afraid online ordering options for the cyborg flesh treatment have yet to make it to Amazon. In fact, should you want an anatomical anomaly tattoo so whiplash-inducingly realistic and infatuating it gets mistaken...