Bemused onlooker: But from a distance the SmartBird bears an uncanny resemblance to an actual bird. While undeniably impressive from a technological viewpoint, it is the SmartBird’s uncanny resemblance to an actual bird that astounds. From the ground it is easily mistaken for the real thing, so realistic are its movements and the flapping of its wings. On closer inspection, of course, it is clearly a robot.
The uncanny word gets quite a work out in this article and I am currently interested in what drives us to imitate life and then complain. Festo have created a beautiful robot. In another story, MIT chemist, Dr Daniel Nocera has developed an artificial leaf which is so effective at photosynthesis and comparatively cheap that he predicts its use powering developing world villages. An artificial leaf (and flower) makes sense in the cultural context of MIT and the first world but I’m not certain it fits so well into the world of agriculture without technology.