Cucumbot Inspires Hunger, Fear

Cucumbot Inspires Hunger, Fear

Posted On: August 27, 2008
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A robot made of food—a strange portmanteau indeed.  Food, man’s lifeblood of the soil, indispensable and delectable, combined with something wholly sinister…a robot, the mechanical man that will one day stamp out the spirit of our species.  The two contrast sharply, yet a Pittsburgh man named Mickey McManus has crafted them as one (a presumed lash against the random and unfair powers that granted him a life tormented by alliteration).  This Gouda and cucumber robotic hand…it’s fascinating…so desirable, yet so devilish…like the clockwork women of yesteryear.

As we yearn for nutritive fulfillment, so too do we yearn to create, and—in the case of robotics—to create that which is like ourselves.  Perhaps McManus was only hoping to capture the spark of life in fruit and dairy, for it is certain he planned not for the evil we now face.

His skills are rudimentary; by profession he is neither scientist nor chef, but rather an executive.  As the CEO of a Pittsburgh design and research firm, he felt it his duty to debut the mighty food-hand at a reception showcasing his firm’s designs.

Where, you may wonder, would a businessman acquire the mental tools necessary to construct such an appetizing appendage?  The answer lies in Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute.  The university last year launched a program called Robot 250, the goal of which was to bring the fundamentals of robotics to 13 surrounding neighborhoods.  Teachers spread throughout the towns armed with materials and know-how, instructing locals in the art of robotry.  All told, the participants built about 75 bots; things like paper flowers with automatic opening and closing petals, a robot to monitor street noise, and even a robot for photographing speeding cars.

The Robot 250 program also had an accompanying party, “billed as the city’s largest and most diverse public gathering of robots”.  Everything from homespun robots to industrial automatons were at the event.  With more than 30 robotics companies in Pittsburgh, the city seems to be a prime destination for robotics aficionados.

We hope to see more programs and events like this in the future.  Loving robots is pretty leet, but the more people that have a grasp on robotics, the more efficient human soldiers we’ll have during the robot apocalypse.  And as for the cucumber hand robot, well, it was eaten.

[The Wall Street Journal]