You think of a lot of things when you think of Futurama. Matt Groening. Cancellation and Lazurus Pit-like rejuvenation. One eye / big boobs. And squid-faced people. Of course, amiright? The sci-fi toon has held a great balance between comedy and nerdliness during its course(s) which explains how the cult following was revived the series again and again, from Fox to Fox to DVD and now to Comedy Central. However, as recently reported on our cousin site ToonBarn, it was Discovery.com that recently wrote an article on how much of what Futurama touches on for a laugh actually has some sort of scientific backbone. Not so much in the vein of banging alien chicks or drinking alien beer, but more like how nanites are real. …yeah, I wasn’t as excited after that, either. But, still, it’s pretty cool to think there’s a bit more science than fiction on occasion!
Like any science fiction series that explores the distant future, “Futurama” is populated with a wide range of robots with humanoid feelings, emotions and even gender. Although the robots portrayed in “Futurama” are considerably more complex than any model available today, engineers are making strides into making robots more like us.
Let’s start with robots with emotions. Scientists at the University of Hertfordshire have already built robots that can learn, recognize and react to basic emotional cues, such as happiness, sadness, fear and pride. Engineering students from Tsukuba University have also created a robot that appears like and mimics the behavior of a human infant intended to teach expecting parents. When it comes to feelings, engineers have created a robot for dental students that “feels” pain. Some robots are also trained to learn our pain threshold to prevent the possibility of injury between human-robot interactions.
Granted, none of these concepts are anywhere near as horrifying as the Pop Star Cyborg, clearly sent here from a not-too-distant future to destroy us all. But, as we know from every “Robots take over the world” film, that just means science will have to keep trying![Source: Discovery.com]