Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ready or Not - The Future is Now...

How many times have you pondered what things might be like in the future? Do you envision space travel? Robots in the home? How about libraries without a single physical book?

In Robot and Frank, we are given a glimpse of a near future where a library is getting just such an upgrade: some rich, slick young guy is taking over the town library and is moving all of the books out and making the library a place more about "the library experience," about community, rather than about the books themselves, since you can now get books on a wireless device from the comfort of your home... or the beach. How far are we from such a "near future"? Will libraries ever actually do away with books?

Well, maybe not all libraries, but, for some libraries, that time has already come... and, for some, passed.

New library, called "BiblioTech," being built in Bexar County, Texas will provide special e-readers to patrons. The electronic version of the books to be loaned will be loaded onto these e-readers, which will become unusable after the loan period if not returned to the library. The look of the library will be fairly reminiscent of an Apple store.

Others have similarly abandoned print, as well. The University of Texas at San Antonio offered a bookless library in 2012. The Tucson-Pima Public Library System had a bookless library in 2002, but ended up adding actual books - at the community's request.

As for the robot side of things, the robot in Robot and Frank appears to be modeled after Honda's robot, Asimo. See some amazing footage of Asimo, as well as HPR-4 and NAO, two other amazing, real-world humanoid robots, in the YouTube video, below.

World's Top3 Humanoid Robots - Asimo vs HPR-4 vs NAO! - SupernovaAnnie

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