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I, For One, Welcome Our Robot Overlords

Robots are no longer a fantasy of the future. For centuries, humans have been hypothesizing about robots. Now, technology is advancing at such a fast rate that our fantasies (or nightmares) are becoming true. Robots are, whether or not we like it, going to continue to be more involved in our lives. So we might as well welcome our robotic overlords. Here are twelve GIFs of some very cool robots that exist today. 

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  • 10 Years of Boston Dynamics Robots

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    Via GFY Cat

    Boston Dynamics is an engineering and robotics design company that was founded in 1992. The company has been a pioneer in the world of robotics, so what we see coming from them is at the height of the latest engineering. This GIF shows just how far their engineering has come in the past ten years - imagine what the next ten years hold in store for us. The robot on the right is called Atlas, and I imagine we'll be seeing a lot more of it around soon. 


  • A Robot that Loves Your Plants More than You Do

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    Via Reddit

    Meet the Hexa robot by robotics engineering company Vincross. This little guy will follow the sun when your plant needs more sunshine, then retreat into the shade when it's had enough. The robot can also kind of 'play' with humans - more like living them high fives, and it even does an adorable little stompy dance when your plant needs watering. It's actually available to buy for $800, and we want one because it's so darn cute. 


  • This Robot Inverts a Triple Pendulum

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    Via Reddit

    So this may not seem very impressive until you know exactly what this robot is doing. This robot is inverting a triple pendulum on a cart, but for some context, the inverted pendulum is a classic problem in dynamics and control theory, and is used as a benchmark for testing control strategies. It is usually mounted on a cart that can move horizontally because the pendulum must be actively balanced to stay upright. So the fact that this robot is inverting a triple pendulum as quickly as this shows that robotics are going to go further than we ever imagined. 


  • Agricultural Robots (Tractors)

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    Via GFY Cat

    The robotics engineering is incredibly useful for many industries, especially the agriculture industry as the global population increases. When we think about it, a tractor is essentially the same as a robot - just a little less sci-fi. But this is only the beginning. There are solar-powered robots that target and spray weeds, fruit-picking trees and drones specially engineered for farmers


  • Omnidirectional Conveyor Belt

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    Via Reddit

    While this one isn't quite as exciting as the Hexa robot, this omnidirectional conveyor belt shows us just how precise things are going to get in the future. 


  • Robotic Claw Stand

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    Via Reddit

    We all have items precious to us that we want to display proudly in our homes; trophies, artwork, perhaps a nice plant or even your cat. But sometimes, plonking them on the shelf (with the exception of your cat) can get a little boring, right? Well here is the solution to your problems: a giant robotic claw. Not only will it rotate your object, it also appears to be the appendage of a huge, menacing creature. Cool. 


  • Tail to Help People Balance

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    Via Reddit

    Evolution or devolution? Engineers at the Keio University in Japan have designed this tail that helps people balance. This could be particularly useful for elderly people with unsteadiness. The tail works the same way as a cheetah's tail and could potentially be very useful - and perhaps fashionable! Who knows what the future holds. 


  • Just a Couple of Cyborgs

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    Via GFY Cat

    These guys call themselves 'cyborgs', which sounds like something out of Doctor Who (there are cyborgs in the show but they're a lot less modern-looking). A cyborg is a creature with organic and biomechatronic body parts, and real life cyborgs actually exist today. Granted, they don't look quite as Transformer-y as these guys, but, still. Cyborgs. 


  • Warehouse Extraordinaire Robot

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    Via GFY Cat

    This is another robot from Boston Dynamics. It's name is 'Handle' and when robots like this go on the market, they're going to revolutionize jobs in warehouses. Look at that counterbalance system as it moves around. Pretty cool. 


  • Self-Moving Ladder

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    Via Imgur

    Here's another useful little mechanism that isn't going to cause revolutions, but it will make a lot of people's lives easier. A movable ladder. Brilliant. How didn't we think of this before? 


  • Wheelchair Drone

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    Via Reddit

    This guy created a wheelchair drone for fun in his own spare time. You can see the whole video of him taking a joy ride through the forest on Youtube, where it also specifies exactly what materials he needed to make this apparatus. Other people are also creating similar things. In particular, Henry Evans: a quadraplegic man who founded Robots For Humanity, a company that is working on creating robots that will assist physically disabled people. 


  • Robotic Hand

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    Via GFY Cat

    While robotic engineering has come a long way, there is still an even longer road ahead. One of the hardest challenges for robotic engineers has been to create robotic hands that are able to function with the same delicacy and dexterity as ours. The hand in this GIF looks pretty functional, and I'm sure it won't be too long before engineers figure out just how to make perfect robot hands, which will be useful not only for humanoid robots that will move like humans, but also for people who use prosthetic limbs

    We are living in a time of great technological changes, and to be honest, it's exciting as hell. 

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