I, Robot

From disarming bombs to vacuuming homes, robots have become very sophisticated and very useful in the last few years. While the most important robots in the coming years will provide lifesaving and household services, other subspecies of robots will perform more unusual, specialized tasks. You may not need these strange robots in your home, but someone, somewhere will be glad they're out there.

Rollin' Justin tea maker

<p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/HS2QfpGAfRU" width="420"></iframe></p> <p> Justin is a mobile, wheeled robot from the Institute of Robotics and Mechantronics in Germany that can perform a variety of functions, from navigating a room to dancing like John Travolta in &quot;Pulp Fiction.&quot; Perhaps its most esoteric skill, though, is its ability to mix drinks. When confronted with an empty glass and a jar full of tea leaves, Justin can lift a pitcher of water in one hand, gently tap the tea leaves out into the glass with the other, and combine the two. The resultant mixture might not be as good as your own handiwork, but Justin&#39;s prowess helps demonstrate what a robot with two independent arms can accomplish. Imagine what it could achieve with <a href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/17321-tappr-drinks-app-sxsw.html">cocktails</a>.</p>

Robot violinist

<p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/EzjkBwZtxp4" width="420"></iframe></p> <p> With so many talented violinists struggling for work, making a robot that can do their jobs may sound cruel. Would-be orchestra members need not worry, though: Toyota&#39;s violinist robot is fully functional, but not ready to replace traditional musicians just yet. Toyota debuted the nameless automaton at a tech conference in Tokyo, where it played Sir Edward Elgar&#39;s &quot;Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1,&quot; a staple of graduation ceremonies everywhere. Although the timing was off in places, the performance was mostly adequate, albeit bereft of any real musicianship. Still, with a little more polishing, robots like this could give &quot;electronic <a href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/17599-game-soundtracks-hall-fame.html">music</a>&quot; a whole new meaning.</p>

Janken (rock, paper, scissors) Robot

<p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/3nxjjztQKtY" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> The Janken Robot from Ishikawa Labs has one purpose and one purpose only: to win every game of rock-paper-scissors it plays. The robot is an autonomous black hand that can recognize the shape of a human hand within a single millisecond and throw out its own response accordingly. While the robot is technically cheating, no human eye is fast enough to detect it. The Janken Robot could provide hours of fun, provided that your definition of fun is &quot;losing at rock-paper-scissors every time.&quot;</p>

HRP-2 dancing bot

<p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/tnegMm7GiaM" width="420"></iframe></p> <p> Yet another entry from The Land of the Rising Sun, HRP-2 from Ikeuchi Lab in Tokyo is one of the most motile robots ever created. Its blue-and-white chassis covers bendable elbows, swaying hips, pointing fingers and a moving head &mdash; all of which come in handy when cutting a rug. HRP-2&#39;s primary purpose is to dance, which it does with remarkable grace in a traditional Japanese folks dance called an &quot;odori.&quot; With two backup singers in traditional garb behind it, HRP-2 walks, gyrates and swings his arms in time with the &quot;Mount Bandai&quot; <a href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/8347-navy-robot-gangnam-style.html">dance</a>. Unfortunately, there is no indication that it can dance &quot;The Robot.&quot;</p>

Watson trivia bot

<p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/FC3IryWr4c8" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> The best-known robot on this list doesn&#39;t resemble a traditional robot at all. <a href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/2096-watson-20-how-ibms-victorious-jeopardyq-computer-could-get-even-better.html">Watson</a>, the supercomputer programmed by IBM to compete on the game show &quot;Jeopardy!&quot; has one goal and one goal only: to amass as much trivia as possible to pose in the form of a question. Still, Watson is an autonomous machine that learns, adapts and acts on an equal playing field with humans. Not only that, but the humble black box dominated its competition, inspiring former &quot;Jeopardy!&quot; champion Ken Jennings to write &quot;I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords&quot; as his Final Jeopardy response. Recently, Watson has branched out, using its considerable knowledge and humanlike responses to aid in automated customer service phone lines.</p>

Want more robots?

<p>If you're curious about what else robots can do, check out these stories. These robots run the gamut from weird to wonderful, and might just merit a spot in your house:</p> <p> <a href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/17955-smart-objects-manage-house.html">Smart Objects Could Manage Your House</a></p> <p> <a href="http://www.technewsdaily.com/6061-10-animal-inspired-robots.html">10 Animal-Inspired Robots</a></p> <p> <a href="http://robot-vacuum-review.toptenreviews.com/">2013 Best Robot Vacuum Reviews and Comparisons</a></p>

5 Curiously Specific Robots