Monday, November 24, 2008

The first step towards Westworld?

Did any of you ever see the movie Westworld?

It was a pretty cool flick from the 1970's directed by the late, great Michael Crichton. It was all about a theme park where the main attraction was life-life robots who interacted with the paying guests. For instance, you could go into a simulation of the Wild West and have gunfights with robotic gunslingers.

Of course, in Westworld, the robots went on a rampage and ended up really killing the guests.

It was sort of like what Jeff Goldblum's character said in Jurassic Park... "If the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists!"

Anyway, I saw something this weekend that made me think of those famous movie scenes, especially because it looks like we're getting closer to having robots interacting with us in the parks.

Entertainment company NEC just unveiled a new robotic payment terminal at the iEXPO 2008 conference in Tokyo. It's called FeliCa and it's been designed for amusement parks and arcades.

The designers envision the robot will help out by selling tickets and giving advice about the park. But the most interesting feature is that the robot can use integrated facial recognition for identifying and profiling park visitors. Obviously, this can be used for determining demographic information and pointing guests towards certain rides, attractions and shops.

The robot is stationary, but how long before that sucker is following us around, challenging us to a gunfight?

Talk about this in the Forums.

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