Tag Archives: novels

Robotic luggage follows you around, doesn’t eat annoying people…yet

Robot Suitcase No, it doesn’t have little feet, and it doesn’t occasionally eat annoying people, but otherwise this Russian-invented luggage that follows its owner around sure sounds like the luggage belonging to Rincewind the Wizzard in Terry Pratchett’s novels: (Via Sci Fi Tech.)

Russian specialists intend to become first in the world to launch mass production of robots-suitcases that are able to follow their owner in footsteps. In order to make the mechanism follow its owner, it is enough for the person to put a sensor-card into a pocket and the suitcase will dutifully roll after the owner.

A gyroscope, light sensitive detectors, ultrasound and infrared sensors help the smart suitcase bypass obstacles, to roll in conditions of an inclined surface, and to stop when stumbling upon the edges of staircases and balconies. The robot-suitcase’s accumulator charge is said to be enough for non-stop operation during 2 hours.

The suitcase developers (Robotronic.ru) have given the mechanism a human name – Tony.

The plan is for the suitcase to be available in 2009 for around $1,960 U.S. (Image from Robotronic.ru.)

[tags]robots, novels, technology, Russia[/tags]

Joel Shepherd continues to hit paydirt with ‘Killswitch’

Joel Shepherd concludes his Cassandra Kresnov trilogy with a bang in KillswitchI’ve been reading the last in the trilogy of Cassandra Kresnov novels by Australian author Joel Shepherd and I’ve been very impressed. Following on from Crossover and Breakaway, Killswitch is set on the planet of Callay. In the peace after a war with the android-creating League, the more conservative Federation government has recently transferred its powers from Earth. The lead character is one of the androids, Cassandra Kresnov, a super-intelligent, super strong version of the more limited grunts used in the war. In the first book, Crossover she defects and moves to Callay, creating a huge political standoff between many different factions.

Shepherd writes a clever, multi-dimensional tale of artificial humans. It’s reminiscent of the great work done with the Cylon characters in the new Battlestar Galactica but impressively these books were first published in Australia before that TV series saw the light of day. The worldwide publication of the trilogy is richly deserved. As well as some gritty, dynamic action sequences and rich political worldbuilding, the characterization of Cassandra is spot-on. I’d recommend a lot of people pick up these books. You can read my review of Killswitch in this month’s SFCrowsnest.

[image of the books Pyr cover via SFCrowsnest]