Amazing things happen when the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) works on a project for a year straight. Load Robots onto your iPad, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Yes, the price tag is a bit off-putting but Robots is an absolute bargain for what you’ll receive: a comprehensive, interactive, educational, and overall fun app that amounts to nothing less than the ultimate reference guide for all things robotic.
At first, Robots may look like a ripoff. It allows you to look at neat pictures of robots and learn about their tech specs – stuff that can easily be found for free online – but as you dig deeper into the app you see that it’s far more than a Wikipedia highlight reel: it’s an attempt to present everything that we know about robots in an easy to navigate interface.
There’s something uncannily familiar about this valley’¦
Covering robots from the famous (Honda’s Asimo) to the esoteric (VGo Communication’s VGo proxy bot), Robots allows you to learn about and rate robots on a scale ranging from adorable to creepy.
But what really makes Robots shine is its attention to detail and the tons of little features that it packs into each entry. Most robots have a 3D, interactive picture that you can rotate and zoom in on at will, and you can also execute real-time searches on any news items concerning the bot entry in question.
Included as well are impressive and informative articles dealing with topics related to robotics, including a rather succinct summary of Masahiro Mori’s seminal theory of the Uncanny Valley.
When your brain’s thirst for information is sated, you can also play through a fun little mini-game that asks you to choose between two robots based on a randomly provided question like: “Which robot would you rather hug?” or “Which robot would you like to be your friend?”
I was set to dismiss this mini-game as the sort of edutainment dross that you’d find in a science museum, until the game settled one of the greatest debates in the history of science fiction for me.
Robots may not be for everyone, and its price is certainly a consideration, but this app manages to be accessible and incredibly informative at the same time. Both tech journalists and robot-obsessed toddlers will find something cool to play with in Robots – although they might disagree on which robot is the coolest.
Incredible amounts of information and detail, navigation is easy and direct
The price is a bit steep, and the app crashed twice during review
Price: $4.99 / Â£2.99