We covered a robot a few months ago which could give you a head massage while it washed your hair. While a 24-fingered hair stylist is impressive, it couldn't cut your hair for you. However, Intelligent Automation Inc. (IAI) discovered another great use for its unmanned ground robot - it can be a barber!
The Multi-Arm Unmanned Ground Vehicle (MA UGV) is more than capable of carrying out complex tasks, from knot tying to door breaching and backpack inspections. It has three very flexible arms, along with three cameras that enhance its "situational awareness" and improve its depth perception.
The bot is also very dexterous: Each arm has a range of motion that's 29 degrees greater than that of similar, human-controlled bots, according to IAI. Impressive. In fact, the US Army has taken a keen interest in it.
The MA UGV also got to try its hand at cutting hair: Check out the video to see the nervous customer Tim get his head shaved. The best part might be how MA UGV tells its victim customer to relax. But don't worry; as the clip shows, Tim survived to tell the tale, and raised money for a worthy cause.
While impressive, it's still doubtful just how many people would actually agree to let the MA UGV near their hair. What if it makes a mistake? It's not like you can ask the robot to fix it. Perhaps robots should leave the hair-cutting to humans.
Personally, I'd be a little apprehensive to have a fully automated robot come at me while wielding a sharp object, in case it were to become self-aware and decides to kill all humans. Fortunately, in this case, the bot was only armed with a pair of standard, mostly harmless hair clippers.
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