If you’ve grown tired of zombie fiction thanks to the glut of zombie-themed movies, tv shows, and books that have surfaced in the past few years, don’t worry. It seems the zombies are on the way out, soon to be replaced by equally creepy humanoid robots. When you think about it both zombies and realistic androids share a lot in common: they’re soulless killing machines that look like they could be your neighbor, and their very existence will lead to the apocalypse. An interesting difference is that often the robots, not people, are the victims in their stories.
It was pretty obvious that zombies were running out of steam back when Pride and Prejudice with Zombies became a thing. Stragglers trying to profit off the zombie bandwagon late in the game have managed some success, like AMC’s The Walking Dead. There’s even a zombie romance coming out this year called Warm Bodies, which will hopefully put the final nail in the coffin. The mainstream popularity of these things is cyclical, and thanks to Spielberg picking up the movie rights to Robopocalypse, and a slew of new robot-themed movies and tv shows surfacing lately, robot fiction is already taking over for better or worse.
MINIROBOT, the South Korean company behind the ROBONOVA hobby robot kits, is showing the second generation at CES 2012 this week. While the original ROBONOVA was licensed by Hitec, it appears MINIROBOT is looking for new distributors. The kit has been available in South Korea for quite some time (known as Metal Fighter), though besides a new head it’s difficult to tell what has changed. Like the original ROBONOVA, the ROBONOVA-2 has 16 degrees of freedom powered by (9kg/cm torque) servos. The low number of relatively weak servos translates to roughly half the asking price of its competition.
Drawings made by Tosy Robotics’ SketRobo
We’re also keeping an eye on Tosy Robotics, a Vietnamese company that says Justin Bieber will be on hand to promote a new entertainment robot. The company has already been showing off SketRobo, a humanoid-shaped robot arm that can show you how to draw hundreds of images, and a small dancing robot called DiscoRobo that automatically busts a groove to music.
The company’s website suggests the mystery robot will be called mRobo, however we’re hoping it will be a working version of TOPIO Tiny. While these are what we would classify as toys, the prototype of TOPIO Tiny shown at a previous trade event would be the real deal – and even looked a bit like the SONY QRIO.
If it turns out the big reveal is simply a ridiculous robot-shaped sound system, color us unimpressed.