February 28, 2011

Mohican the Japanese robot

Correspondent DMarks brought this item to my attention:

Japanese Professor Builds Fantastically Impractical Anti-Wasp Robot

By Logan WestbrookSekine started working on the robot when a friend who was involved in local pest control efforts asked him to come up with an alternative to getting up close and personal with the nest. Clad in a bright yellow t-shirt, the robot--named Mohican, after its hair--is around 5'6", made of lightweight metals and wood and powered by small motors. The operator can issue commands to Mohican, such as "climb the ladder," via a small microphone and then remotely control its finer movements. The robot's hair, which started off on a barbershop mannequin, is supposed to look silly, so that people realise that the robot is friendly.Comment:  Only one problem here: "Mohican" isn't the adjectival form of "Mohawk." The Mohawks and Mohicans are two separate and unrelated tribes:

MahicanThe Mahicans (also Mohicans) are an Eastern Algonquian Native American tribe, originally settling in the Hudson River Valley (around Albany, NY). After 1680, many moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. During the early 1820s and 1830s, most of the remaining descendants migrated westward to northeastern Wisconsin. The tribe's name for itself (autonym) was Muh-he-con-neok, or "People of the waters that are never still."


The Mahican were living in and around the Hudson Valley at the time of their first contact with Europeans after 1609, during the settlement of New Netherland. The Mahican were a confederacy rather than a single tribe, and at the time of contact there were five main divisions: Mohican proper, Westenhuck, Wawayachtonoc, Mechkentowoon, and Wiekagjoc. Over the next hundred years, tensions between the Mahican and the Iroquois Mohawk, as well as Dutch and English settlers, caused the Mahican to migrate eastward across the Hudson River into western Massachusetts and Connecticut. Many settled in the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where they gradually became known as the Stockbridge Indians.
For more on robots, see Aborigines in Gigantor and Racist Transformers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Engrish has struck again.

Though I will say the silly hair is a cool touch. Most people don't like robots that look too human. The uncanny valley, it's called. Corpses (and even more so, zombies) tend toward the nadir of the uncanny valley, but even a bunraku (a type of puppet theatre originating in Osaka) puppet is still in it.

The uncanny valley is also the basis of horror movies like The Puppet Master, and the "weird girl with a dark secret" trope in anime.