November 11, 2008
If Guru was to ask disciples which nation was the most likely to invent bionic legs for workers of the future, then Japan would probably be top guess.
And you'd be right. Yes, the country which brought the rest of the world robot dogs, Asimo the robot conductor, robot bartenders and the unicycle riding robot, has done it again. The BBC website has some brilliant footage of the robot legs in action, being worn (can you wear a pair of legs?) by a suitably unimpressed demonstrator.
Car maker Honda has unveiled the robot legs and says they will help workers in factories. The device is designed to help people "who work standing or in a crouching position for a long time", according to the company.
Guru wonders who actually works in a crouching position? Wicketkeepers, undercover agents, those with stomach complaints? Surely if you are crouching for a long time then a chair or stool to sit on would be helpful, not a pair of crazy metallic legs.
No doubt the unions would have something to say about their members being forced to don such contraptions so they could then work longer hours in the factory. Why stop at legs? Why not robot arms as well?
Thinking of the practicalities, what would employees do if you needed to, ahem, pay a visit, if you get my meaning? Guru is sure the super-brains at Honda have thought about the problem. If not, he is happy to licence his patented adult sized 'work-o-nappies', meaning staff never have to take a toilet break - they can just do it where they sit, or in this case, stand.