IEEE's Robot iPad App is Robot Heaven

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IEEE's Robot iPad App is Robot Heaven
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Robots App's List of Highlighted Robots

Robots App's List of Highlighted Robots

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Handing an iPad loaded with the IEEE's new Robots app to someone like me is a little dangerous. I love robots. I've covered them for years and eagerly await the day when I can have long, insightful conversations with my robotic best friend. IEEE Spectrum Robots is like a gift from heaven. It's the most comprehensive, entertaining digital guide I have ever seen on the subject.

The Institute of Electrical Engineers and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and IEEE Spectrum spent almost a year building an app that is equal parts education and entertainment. It covers over 120 robots, from the well-known Honda Asimo to the somewhat lesser known Paro therapeutic robotic and the truly obscure ACM-R5H "snake" robot. Every single bot gets its own page complete with virtually every photo taken and video made of the robot (overall there are 493 photos and an almost equal number of videos). There's also a description, and full specs for each. However, the IEEE always keeps it entertaining. Each robot page also lets you rate the robot and signify if you'd want to own it. You can even use a sliding scale to rate the robot's creepiness factor (the scale slides from "Creepy" all the way to "Nice").

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All of the ratings are aggregated into a Ratings page where you can see the Creepiest, Nicest, Most Wanted and overall Top-Rated robots.

One of my favorite pages was for Honda's ASIMO Humanoid robot. The pictures depict its development from the mid 1980's, when it was essentially just a pair of smart set of legs, to its present, cuter and far more versatile embodiment. It's just so easy to get lost in this app!

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There is, of course, an entire area devoted to learning about robots that includes, among other things, a detailed description of "The Uncanny Valley," a rich glossary (learn the meaning of "Haptics" and "LIDAR"), and an excellent Timeline.

If you just want to play, IEEE Spectrum Robots includes "Face Off", which is a blend of "Versus" and "Would You?". It shows you two pictures of robots and asks, for instance, which one you would rather hug or kiss and which is cooler and "Which robot could be a sci-fi villain?" Every time you select a choice, the app shows you what percentage of users also made the same selection. It's fun and I think I went through two dozen choices before finally returning to work.

I did get a bit of a surprise when testing out the app. Apparently I have been covering a lot of robots for a long time because I found a couple of video of me interviewing Robot Industry luminaries (with their robots).

The app is for the iPad only (running iOS 5.0) and costs $4.99. Yes, that ranks it among some of the more expensive apps (in this relative world), but I consider it well worth every penny. If you love robots, as I do, you must download this app today.

How do you feel about robots? Are you too afraid of the robot revolution to enjoy an app like this? Explain yourself in the comments.

This story originally published on Mashable here.

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