back to article MIT eggheads build 'human-robot relationships'

An MIT doctoral candidate has produced a robotic desk lamp, though its maker prefers to call it a "collaborative lighting assistant", or even "non-anthropomorphic robotic platform". See the Flash video: Click To Play New Scientist reports that the robo-lamp is the brainchild of Guy Hoffman, a member of the Robotic Life …


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  1. James Cleveland

    Imagine the press

    When "Huggable the bear hugs too hard" due to a bug. Oh well, the kid was terminally ill anyway.

  2. Patch Tuesday

    money well spent.....

    ....or he could have just turned on the main room light?

  3. Del Merritt

    remember the hiding alarm clock?

    I think this is the same lab that put together the alarm clock that jumps off the end-table and hides, forcing you to find it to shut it off. For the hard-to-wake sleeper.

    But my first thought was was of those dancing flowers. Why, oh why, do we need dancing flowers?

  4. Dan

    Three words:

    Useful... Commercial... Application.

    Looks like the MIT people are missing about 2/3 of that. Maybe more.

    I don't need a hug machine, I have a girlfriend. Of course that also means I don't need a robotic vacuum cleaner.

  5. Matthew Glubb


    How did it know what he was looking for when the light turned red? Or did I misinterpret that bit...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More useless feel good crap.....

    From the Media Lab that brought you the last useless feel good crap. MIT needs to ditch this department and turn the building over to something with better use.

  7. Charlie van Becelaere

    Re: Fraud?

    How indeed? One is forced to assume that media in this case is the plural of medium in the mystical, rather than informational, sense. In this new Robot Instantiation of Mentalism: Serendipitous Homing on Objects in Thought, one can perhaps see the next generation of "employees" in Monte Carlo and Las Vegas.

    RotM is now, perhaps, Rise of the Mentals.

  8. Tom

    Another three words...

    Too Much Time

    Look, they have already invented the light switch that turns on the lights when you enter the room (I have one in my office here at "work"). It seems to me that they could have just flipped on the main light switch (as previously mentioned).

    Please leave the emotional (and hopping) goose neck lamps to Pixar and animation. They do a better job anyway.

  9. call me scruffy

    Isn't this just another take...

    On that sex toys story earlier this week? Or are smart-vibrators considered "anthropomorphic?"

  10. breakfast Silver badge

    Think of the security applications!

    A light that can keep itself pointed in the eyes of someone being interrogated no matter how they try and move. The world's security services must be rubbing their hands with glee.

  11. breakfast Silver badge


    I can see a practical use for this- it may quite a commercially viable idea for automated spotlights in theatres and music venues.

  12. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Robots will be useful when

    They can do our chores for us. Turning on a light is not a chore, washing the dishes is. We have dishwashers, but we don't have the robot that takes the dirty dishes from the table and puts them in the dishwasher.

    I understand the need to build small steps at a time, and this might be one of them, but it has no use in everyday life. It might have a use as a prop in some Hollywood film about a crazy inventor and the tribulations of his life, but what we everyday humans need is an intelligent tool that can vacuum where needed, mow the lawn when necessary, take out the garbage and walk the dog - preferably without needing to be told to do it.

    In the mean time, I can handle the lighting myself, thank you very much.

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