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YouTube // Wieden Kennedy
YouTube // Wieden Kennedy

Meet Needybot, Portland's Fuzzy Robot

YouTube // Wieden Kennedy
YouTube // Wieden Kennedy

At ad firm Wieden+Kennedy's office in Portland, Oregon, you can meet a fuzzy, confused robot. Dubbed Needybot, it can't do much...except ask for help.

Designed by W+K's Lodge technology group, this robot is unusual. Lodge staffers write:

Needybot is not like other robots, because Needy was not made to perform a specific function to help us. Needybot’s purpose is to make us care, but it was built with just a few senses and little idea how to survive on its own.

Here's a 30-second intro to Needybot:

And here's a longer video explaining how the whole thing works. Representative quote: "If robots had puppies, it would look like Needybot." Enjoy:

Read more about Needybot from Portland Monthly, or follow it on Instagram.

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Boston Dynamics
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technology
SpotMini, Boston Dynamics's Highly Capable Robo-Dog, Will Go on Sale Soon
Boston Dynamics
Boston Dynamics

Remember the Boston Dynamics robot that gripped the internet in collective terror earlier in 2018? The four-legged, headless 'bot was featured in a series of videos that displayed its ability to open doors, navigate stairs, and even challenge a human armed with a hockey stick.

Now, our dystopian nightmare is one step closer to becoming a reality. Boston Dynamics announced that SpotMini, their name for this practical-function puppy-bot, will see a limited release in 2018 and full-scale production in 2019. The company is eyeing commercial functions for the device, which can trot around office environments as a surveillance presence or assist in construction tasks that might prove dangerous for humans, like bounding up to the top of an unfinished skyscraper. With its optional, rather freakish arm attachment, it can pick up nearly 9 pounds—that’s roughly the size of a newborn infant.

The model does have one failsafe—it can only operate for 90 minutes before needing to charge its battery.

SpotMini will function through apps and human-controlled commands. By mapping out its environment using sensors, it will be able to locomote autonomously. No price has been announced.

[h/t Dezeen]

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Nixie Rhie, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
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Food
The Secret to Costco's Delicious Pizza Is a Sauce-Dispensing Robot
Nixie Rhie, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Nixie Rhie, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Deliciousness often comes from unexpected sources. Take the food court at Costco, for example: No matter which location you're shopping in, you can always count on the pizza there to taste better than food served at a big box store has any right to be. Reader's Digest recently revealed the secret behind the chain's confounding culinary consistency: pizza-making robots.

Rather than relying solely on human employees to assemble the ingredients, Costco has perfected the art of pizza preparation with a machine that makes each pie identical to the one that came before it. Each Costco pizza starts with dough that's had sufficient time to rise and achieve chewy, pillowy goodness. From there, an automated nozzle dispenses an even layer of pizza sauce over a spinning, uncooked crust, and then the cheese and toppings are added with painstaking precision. "Every Costco pizza you get should have the same amount of sauce, cheese, and toppings,” Costco employee Kaiwen Zhao told Reader's Digest.

The final step takes place in the oven: The pie is blasted with heat from all angles and emerges from the oven exactly six minutes later. If the pizza isn't purchased within the hour, it gets tossed and replaced with a fresh one.

Surprisingly, Costco is one of the biggest pizza franchises in the country, with nearly 500 stores serving up the famous pies. But pizza isn't the only menu item that keeps customers coming back to the food court: Costco's rotisserie chicken is so popular that it has its own Facebook fan page.

[h/t Reader's Digest]

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