What Will They Think of Next? by Robin Trimingham
I just finished watching a news clip about a small new personal robot can follow you around the house like a dog, and can learn to recognize your other pets. It also will carry items up to seven pounds in weight, and sends itself back to its charging station when it senses that its battery is getting low.
Not surprisingly it is being manufactured by the same company that created the Roombot automated vacuum cleaner, but for the life of me I cannot figure out who would need one of these new units.
I watched the footage twice and I cannot understand out how it is helpful. The Roombot at least doubles as a house pet transport system while cleaning the carpet, but this new one seems only able to transport a plate of cheese and crackers – but it doesn’t prepare or serve the food, let alone do the dishes afterward. It also does not mix martinis, wash windows or do ironing; but it has sensors that enable it to swerve around objects in its path on the floor.
I am confused. Or maybe I’m just too old fashioned to appreciate it’s worth. I can live with that. The more complex life gets; the more I crave simplicity.
This morning I saw a ruby throated humming bird in my garden drinking nectar from tiny red flowers. This, by comparison, thrills me no end – I have lived in Bermuda since 1989 and never seen one before. I didn’t think they existed here – perhaps they don’t, but no one told this little fellow.
Then I started wondering how on earth he got here and I realized that he might have arrived during the hurricane a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t think this was possible but apparently, there are recorded instances of hummingbirds crossing the Gulf of Mexico in a non-stop 20-hour flight; so I guess with high winds and more than a little luck it might be possible for one to make it across to Bermuda now and again.
This evening I did a little research and discovered that not only can the hummingbird flap its wings up to 100 times per second, it is also the only bird that can fly backwards. According to www.ponderweasel.com:
“You can think of a hummingbird as a miniature helicopter. Like a helicopter, the hummingbird can hover, fly right to left, left to right, diagonal, forwards, and yes, even backwards. The hummingbird has the ability to rotate its wings in circles making a figure eight. Based on the configuration of the figure eight as shown below, the hummingbird can change directions at will. So not only does the hummingbird fly backwards, it does so with great speed and grace.”
Now that’s my idea of advanced technology in action!
Maybe someday they will invent a robot that can maneuver like this – I don’t know what it will be used for, but I know that everyone would certainly rush right out and buy one just to watch it dart about.
By Robin Trimingham