Puppets, popping up everywhere, manipulate the imagination and feed a primal fascination


By John Habich – Newsday

Like a ragtag army of automatons, puppets of every contraption are infiltrating the power centers of the entertainment world.

While the hand-puppet cynics of “Avenue Q” and the stick-puppet animals of “The Lion King” entertain sold-out houses on Broadway, the man-eating plant in “Little Shop of Horrors” is gobbling up box-office bucks on a new national tour. Meanwhile, the creators of TV’s “South Park” are preparing “Team America: World Police,” an action-adventure political satire starring marionettes, due in theaters Oct. 15.
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A robot that doesn?t walk like an old man

Posted Jun 9, 2004, 8:55 AM ET by Gareth Edwards

Kyoto University?s Robo Garage has announced what may be the first bipedal robot that doesn?t walk like it has a bad back. The Chroino is able to keep the leg in contact with the ground straight as it walks, instead of the awkward both-knees-bent shimmy common to brethren from Honda?s Asimo to Sony?s Qrio. The Chroino measures about 35 cm in height and weighs about a kilo. It apparently only cost about $28,000 to develop and would probably cost about $4,500 were it to go into production, which isn?t too far out of Aibo territory. No info on whether it does anything but walk, however?it looks like the intent is to license the walking technology rather than develop it in its own right, meaning that it could be something of a catwalk model of the robot world. With its superhero good looks and the Qrio?s intellect, though, we?re sure they?d make a lovely couple.
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