News of a Japanese robot conducting Buddhist funerals got us thinking about how our robot-filled future is fast becoming our robot-filled present. Robots—machines that can be programmed to perform complex human tasks (or tasks that humans can’t or shouldn’t perform)—are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, and are showing up in more unexpected areas of life. They staff hotel desks, fill pharmacy prescriptions, lead workout classes and patrol for sharks. Here’s a roundup of some of the coolest and most unexpected things robots can do for us these days.
Race Your Camels
Camel-racing, a popular sport on the Arabian peninsula, used to use child slaves as jockeys. Now they've got a more humane (for the humans, if not the camels) alternative: robots. The tiny, humanoid jockeys, which are voice activated, hold whips and control the camels as their owners drive alongside in cars.