Opinion Brief

The 'diabolical' beer can that's secretly a robot

A Japanese hobbyist creates the ultimate party trick (or foul): A beer can able to walk away from thirsty revelers

The video: Robots are slowly infiltrating our human world: They're walking our dogs, performing surgery, and even beating humans at Jeopardy! And now, thanks to Ron Tajima, a Japanese robot enthusiast, they are hiding in our beer cans, too. In a demonstration video, Tajima sits in front of a table, surrounded by robotic toys, and coyly asks the camera: "Can you see my robot?" (Watch the video below.) The camera pans over the crowded tabletop, settling, finally, on a beer can. Using a rigged Wii controller, Tajima commands his homemade prototype to transform, which it does, sprouting three legs. It then stands and walks. The robot, which is powered by a small battery, can also be directed to roll across flat surfaces. Pressing the 'home' button on the Wii remote puts the robot, aptly named CanBot, back into its "diabolical" can position, where it waits to attack ignorant drinkers.

The reaction: The CanBot is terrifying, if only because there isn't any beer inside, says John Biggs at CrunchGear. "It is, in short, the world's most amazing robotic party foul." Exactly, says Peter Murray at Singularity Hub. For the first time, a beer can is capable of actually walking over to you, and there's nothing but gadgetry inside. What's the point? Um, to "infiltrate human society," of course, says Jesse Hicks at Engadget. Our robot enemies can now "hide in plain sight," now that they can conceal themselves in the ubiquitous beer can, rather than, say, a tank. Though really, I'm excited to get my hands on "a six pack. Of robots." See for yourself:

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