It may not look as pristine or imposing as NS-5 from the movie I-Robot, but Octavian, a firefighting robot, certainly invokes memories of Sonny, the charming AI from the esteemed sci-fi film. This amazing robot, while presently only a prototype, possesses many incredible qualities that make robots from the realm of fiction seem within reach. This robot is actually able to recognize a human by name and engage in unique conversations with them. The robot actually interacts with different humans differently, depending upon the personality of the individual with which they are interacting. Octavian then identifies the communicator’s body language and key words in the human’s speech, responding with words and actions that fit the situation. The robot can respond to directions given by the human. When Octavian has identified a fire using its two infrared cameras, it accurately fires extinguishing liquids on the brightest points in the flame. Although this robot is clearly just a prototype, its remarkable abilities may one day remove all danger from one of the most hazardous jobs in America.
Have you ever had to carry 40+ pounds luggage around a foreign city? If you haven’t, I can assure you that it is not fun. For this reason, I am very excited about a new suitcase called Hop, which actually follows the user around wherever they go. The suitcase picks up a signal from the user’s phone, allowing it to follow the user at a constant distance, navigating turns and other obstacles. Although this sounds very convenient, you probably are thinking about the obvious security risks of having a suit case with all of your belongings follow you around two feet behind you. Fortunately, Hop has accounted for this concern. If the signal from the suitcase is lost, the user’s phone alerts them with a vibration. In addition, the suitcase locks itself, protecting your belongings. Multiple suitcases can also follow one another in succession. For some reason, the idea of twenty suitcases following me around the airport excites me.