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Holiday gifts engineers secretly want

10 Dec 2015  | Cabe Atwell

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If you could get whatever you wanted for the holiday, what would you ask for? If you're having a hard time to decide, don't worry. Here is a roundup of "ask-for-anything" gifts, so that you won't be caught off-guard.

For about $2,800, you can get a robot. It's not big enough to elevate you to supervillain status but it is a useful platform for honing your supervillain moves. Or at least your electromechanical skills. Then you can program it to be your buddy or to Zangief piledrive unsuspecting pets and children that walk by it. Set it up so that it makes and brings you a tiny delicious cup of Turkish coffee whenever you clap your hands and yell, "coffee!"

The potential for these are endless.

  • Have it assemble more of itself so that you have a robot army.
  • Program your robot army to cling together into 10-foot-tall humanoid composite robots.
  • Program it so that the 10-foot-tall composite robots can combine into a 45-foot-tall mega robot, which can generate extra limbs as needed.
  • Set it up to patrol your domicile for intruders.
  • Build a little armoured suit for it out of pieces of old tyres and send it scouting into hostile environments.
  • Program it to run outside in the winter and start your car for you.
  • Have it follow you wherever you go and on its back, put a tiny Peltier cooled backpack big enough for two Red Bulls. Now your little buddy has got your energy game covered.
  • Use it in a paintball game to run emergency air and paintballs out to any of your doods that are out of ammo.
  • Put one of the tiny gas engines used in model airplanes on it. When it runs low on power, the engine kicks on and charges the batteries. Bam, Prius robot.
  • Equip it with solar cell fins and extra lithium-ion batteries. Then, send it running full tilt boogie into Area 51. Make sure that it is transmitting everything it sees right up until the moment when an alien hovertank fusion bombs it into a super-hot quark/gluon lump.
  • Have your robot deliver documents and parts to co-workers. That way, you can do your job without getting stuck in a long-winded and ultimately pointless conversation. We don't want to hear about your kid having to wear football pads that are two sizes too big or how you think that there is some big government conspiracy out in a place called Area 51.

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