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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 30, 2007 / 20 Kislev 5768

Robot Geisha

By Greg Crosby


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last year the big "toy" that everyone was lining up in freezing weather to buy was Playstation 3. I can remember about a million years ago when the huge phenomenon was Cabbage Patch Kids. People were getting beat up in stores over them and then there was a shortage and you couldn't even buy one for ten or twenty times the price.


Now comes something really unusual. Here's the perfect gift to give your spoiled rotten kids that have everything else. Or maybe the ideal present for the guy or gal who wants to be waited on hand and foot. From Japan comes the ultimate robot — a pearly white little thing that looks sort of like E.T. and can help you get out of bed in the morning, talk with you, and even make your breakfast.


As reported by Reuters, the robot's name is Twendy-One, named as a 21st century version of a previous robot called Wendy. Its most important feature is that it has soft hands and fingers that can gently grip things. It also has enough strength to actually support humans as they sit and stand and it uses supple movements which respond to human touch.


Twendy-One can pick up a loaf of bread without crushing it and can serve toast and help lift people out of bed. That puts the robot three for three with my wife. "It's the first robot in the world with this much system integration," said Shigeki Sugano, professor of mechanical engineering at Waseda University, who led the Twendy-One project (http://twendyone.com) and demonstrated the result. "It's difficult to balance strength with flexibility."

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The robot is described as being is a little shorter than an average Japanese woman at about five feet tall, but heavy-set at 245 lb. With long arms and a face shaped like a giant squashed bean it resembles the Steven Spielberg space alien movie character E.T. So you might say it looks cute in an extraterrestrial way.


Twendy-One has taken close to seven years and a budget of several million dollars to pull together all the high-tech features, including the ability to speak and 241 pressure-sensors in each silicon-wrapped hand, into the soft and flexible robot. This isn't one of your old time run-of-the-mill Mattel wind ups — this baby is the real deal. During the demonstration, the robot put toast on a plate and retrieved ketchup from a refrigerator when asked, after greeting its "patient for the demonstration" with a robotic "good morning" and "bon appetit."


Sugano said he hoped to develop a commercially viable robot that could help the elderly and maybe work in offices by 2015 with a price tag of around $200,000. But for now, it is still a work in progress. Twendy-One has just 15 minutes of battery life and its computer-laden back has a tendency to overheat after each use. "The robot is so complicated that even for us, it's difficult to get it to move," Sugano said.


You can just imagine the rush on the stores when they finally get Twendy-One's act together and ship them over here. When that day comes, and the thing can be bought for a couple hundred grand, you can bet that every rich little princess in America will be putting this one on her list. And rich daddies will be standing in lines outside electronic stores at 4:AM on Black Friday to be the first to buy one. Hey, this guy beats Chatty Cathy and Mr. Machine hands down — not to mention Cabbage Patch Kids.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2006, Greg Crosby

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