8 Terrifying Robots Now Stalking Your Local Hospital
As has been mentioned before, we here at Cracked hold a firm belief that robots are out to get us. Little by little, day by day, they are inching up the slopes of Uncanny Valley in order to murder, eat or enslave us -- depending on which particular mad doctor's creations first gain sentience.
Imagine our horror when we found out that science is actually giving robots more and more responsibility in the medical field ... because apparently, what the world really needs is robots specifically designed to understand the human body and interact with it. With knives.
Actroid-F, The Robot That Stalks You While You Sleep
Therapy is not a concept commonly associated with robots, apart from them occasionally being the cause for it. Yet somehow, Japan (sigh) has decided its artificial automated abominations should be the ones providing it. Meet Actroid-F, last in the long line of androids by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, who readers may remember as the creator of at least one of the creepiest robots in existence.
Actroid-F is the most advanced of Ishiguro's creations to date, and it actually holds a Guinness World Record for "the first true android," an honor that was probably bestowed because Actroid-F lacks the ability to walk and therefore is slightly less likely to murder you in your sleep than most other robots. However, it is still the very last thing many people see before they die.
Above: Proof that robots have finally discovered Xanax.
See, the manufacturers of the most advanced android in existence thought it would be best used as a hospital stalker. Seriously. They are using the Actroid-F "as an observer in hospitals to gauge patient reactions." They are placing it in hospitals with patients, and its job is, essentially, to stare at them to see how they like it. And that's where the terror begins. For all its advancedness, Actroid-F is still up to its eyebrows in Uncanny Valley, and it shows:
So let's say you're in a Japanese hospital. You're sickly and weak, barely able to breathe. Actroid-F sits on a stool near your bed, looking at you with that tiny, slightly amused smile on its face and occasionally making one of those spastic movements that freak the hell out of you every time. Its eyes never leave you, and although you swear they told you it can't walk, it somehow seems to be getting closer.
And then, as that smug little smile reaches your bed, you suddenly realize: It's not here to keep you company as you leave the mortal coil. It's here to devour your soul when you do.
Someone is masturbating to this picture right now.
The Tiny, Sharp Robot Inside Your Eyeball
In the "What's the worst place to have robots?" part of the annual Cracked staff robot attack questionnaire, the only thing that got more votes than "under my bed" and "in my bed" was "inside my body." Boy, are we in luck today.
First, a little background: Macular degeneration is a condition of the eye that does pretty much exactly what you'd expect from something with the word "degeneration" in its name. One of its shittier aspects, apart from the whole losing sight thing, is that the medication for it often needs to be administered via a needle to the eyeball.
No, they can't seriously be thinking about ...
To mitigate the "Dear God, why?" factor of this, science has set out to find a better way to get that medicine in the ol' peeper. So, logically, they built a small robot that lives inside your eye for months, roaming around and administering medication when needed and roaming around and poking with its pointy end and roaming around.
Inside your eye. For months.
But maybe, as a first in the history of everything robotic ever, this little guy is not quite as bad as it sounds? Let's take a look at it in action:
It's not as bad as it sounds. It's actually worse.
It's zipping around the insides of an eyeball, rummaging about like a coked-up granny in a jumble sale. Suddenly, the needle in the eye doesn't seem like such a bad thing. Hell, a rusty spoon in the eye doesn't seem like such a bad thing if it means we'll get that goddamn miniature demon out of the window to our soul.
Hey, you get no sympathy from us. You should have chosen blindness.
The Robotic Cockroach That Chews on Your Insides
So, one day you're on the operating table and, instead of the usual scalpels and implements, the surgeon whips out Japan's take on the surgical robot. The micro medical robot is about the size of a cockroach and is inserted through a small incision. Inserted as in put inside your body, where it moves about and performs operations, removing infected tissue and offering you a valuable if once-in-a-lifetime insight on what those drug addicts really mean when they whimper about insects crawling under their skin.
Speaking of which, here's what the micro medical robot looks like:
Nothing you say will convince us this isn't meant for torture.
OK, so it's not just the size of a cockroach. That there, friends, is a damn cockroach. They're putting a robot cockroach inside you, and encouraging it to feast on your insides.
Sure, it's only supposed to go nuts on your cancerous cells and absolutely nothing else. There is virtually no chance of it going "Fuck it" and you being eaten from the inside at all, because who has ever heard of potentially lethal robots malfunctioning in any way whatsoever?
That only makes us more worried about ...
Probot, The Penis-Drilling Robot
At first glance, you may think that our picture department has made a mistake with the below photo. That's clearly one of those construction robots they use on car assembly lines, or maybe a prop for that one scene from Goldfinger ... you know, the one with the dong-attack laser. Clearly something like that. Definitely not something that is used on humans in real life.
The Hippocratic oath doesn't apply to machines.
Your futile hope finds no home here. We'd like to introduce you to Probot, an admittedly awesome-named pioneer in robotic surgery. Granted, it looks a bit bulky for something as delicate as surgical operations, but that's just because its field of expertise is highly specialized.
It's a prostate surgery robot. Yes, that giant mechanical arm is meant to operate that thing deep within a man's dong, and its business end looks like this:
Enjoy your nightmares this evening, fellas.
Probot was developed by well-intentioned minds who apparently felt that the many, many repetitive motions and little cuts needed in prostate correction surgery are more than enough to send human surgeons daydreaming, with results that would be hilarious if it wasn't for all the lawsuits and screaming. The robot's function is basically to go through all those pesky surgical motions that a surgery requires so that the surgeon (whose job it technically is to do that stuff, remember) can chill, presumably with his feet on the table and sipping a daiquiri.
And let us remind you, this robot is using the "TURP method" of prostate surgery. That stands for transurethral resection of the prostate.
With this. Through your penis.
Well, ain't that just swell, science. You've actually managed to construct a dong-stabbing knifebot, which is just about the worst thing anyone could build, ever. Now all you need to do is dress it as a clown and throw in a couple of spider legs and you've got our top six worst nightmares pretty much covered.
Adorable Mechanical Seals That Will Scar You for Life
Wait, what? What's this adorable thing doing on a list of terrifying robots?
Oh God, look at it! We take it all back, we want six of those right now. There's no way Paro the seal could ever be anything but adorable. The only thing that could mess up that fluffball made of moist eyes and hugs is if it did something really unprecedentedly insane, like let out bloodcurdling screams every time you touched it or something ...
... wait, it does? And it's capable of getting angry and recognizing if you touch it too hard for its tastes (which, according to that video, seems to be any and all touching )? Never mind, we'll just huddle in the corner instead.
Paro hides $6,000 worth of machinery and cold, black hate inside its cuddly, toylike husk. It's mainly used as an interactive therapy robot for Alzheimer's patients, presumably to give them something they're actually happy to forget. By the way, there's a reasonable chance Paro is going to make its way to U.S. nursing homes as well. Oh, what fun it's going to have with Granny!
No -- it's just baiting you! To it, you are just nutrients!
RI-MAN and Riba Just Want to Hug You ... Forever
RI-MAN is a cuddly, huggable health care robot designed by researchers who probably don't get a lot of dates because of their definition of "cuddly" and, for that matter, "hug."
The more observant of you have already noticed that's not a real person he's "hugging."
But at this point we take what we can get, and are thankful that knives don't seem to feature too heavily in RI-MAN's design. In fact, it's pretty much the opposite of a knife: The whole machine is covered with a soft material that pads it to a degree of what apparently passes in robot scientist circles for huggability, should you for some reason want to cuddle a superstrong artificial humanoid.
Yet once again, the purpose of the robot manages to completely obliterate the harmlessness projected by its look and feel. It is designed to interact with the elderly and the disabled, and more specifically to lift and haul them around on its shovel-like arms. Here's RI-MAN in action:
Wow, that looks like a comfortable ride. And when we say "comfortable," we of course mean "final." Moving with all the grace of a C-3PO unit with a low battery level, it's all too easy to imagine RI-MAN "accidentally" mistaking its passenger for an accordion, an effect that is not exactly helped by the fact that it heavily resembles a 1950s movie monster. Hell, the robot itself expresses surprise when it manages to hold that mannequin in a non-lethal way for about 10 seconds.
The absolute shock in his otherwise murderous eyes says it all.
Add this to the fact that RI-MAN recognizes sounds and homes in on them and can track and remember faces, and then remember that the people RI-MAN is used on can't move on their own accord. They can only wait and hold their breath as it looms in the background, waiting for an opportunity to flail at them with its giant spade-arms.
RI-MAN was used to terrorize Japanese elderly homes, but due to the residents' complaints was subjected to a heavy redesign. This is the result:
Who wouldn't feel safe in Pedobear's arms?
In a fairly creative dick move, the Japanese elderly were recently introduced to the spanking new Riba, the lifting bear. Why a bear? Because they really should've kept their mouths shut about our precious RI-MAN, that's why.
To make things worse, the supposedly much safer bearbot (turns out RI-MAN had some "limited safety and performance functionality," which we assume is Japanese for "murder sprees") comes across as an even more jittery nightmare than its predecessor, as evidenced by this rather sad performance video:
Here's a thought for all you robot-makin' folks out there: If your machine designed for helping helpless humans needs constant help and supervision to do it even remotely safely, it might not be ready for the most fragile members of our species.
Nursebot Pearl Is the New Face of Terror
Just when you thought the Japanese elderly had it bad, it turns out the real terror comes from within the very borders of America.
Obviously designed after Jack Nicholson's character from The Shining.
A research group in Pittsburgh's own Carnegie Mellon University -- we're just going to assume they're called the Department of Eldritch Abominations -- is developing a nurse robot of their own. The project is called Nursebot Pearl, and frankly, it makes us miss Japan. Their robots might be just one step away from wearing our faces as a mask, but at least they have the decency to be somewhat, we don't know, sleek while doing it.
Nursebot Pearl, on the other hand, makes it evident that U.S. scientists still have miles to go before they're churning out Actroid-F's. However, when it comes to committing crimes against nature, they have that shit down to an art form. Pearl, for instance, is an unholy combination of Wall-E and a demon-possessed toy -- and although it may not have the upper-body strength of RI-MAN and Riba, it more than makes up for this with pure, undistilled horror:
Notice how even the video meant to promote the thing makes no attempt to not make it look like a horror movie villain (at 1:00.). It also seems to have an unhealthy fixation on feeding people multivitamins, which is good for Pearl, as every killer robot should have its modus operandi set at the earliest possible stage.
Granted, Pearl is, at the moment, little more than a mobile reminder of when to take your medicine and when to poop. It can talk when it chooses to, but mostly it communicates via a screen on its chest. However, its true claim to our nightmares lies in its Mr. Potato Head-like nature. Its fully customizable face -- meaning you can choose between a completely inhuman and almost inhuman homebot -- and ever-increasing features and gadgets mean it's just a couple of years away from slithering around on mechanical tentacles.
We're not sure that's a bad thing, compared to what they have right now.
And somehow you just know that one night, when your grandmother is fast asleep, a shadow will fall upon her as an inhuman voice booms right in her ear, "YOU NEED TO TAKE YOUR MULTIVITAMINS. NOW."
Robot Practice Patients
Now that it's apparent that the health care industry has been thoroughly invaded by robots, the only consolation we have left is that humans still comprise the vast majority of the medical profession. Too bad, then, that said humans are nowadays largely trained by highly specialized, human-simulating robots called manikins.
Take a deep breath:
Don't let it out just yet ...
There we go. Aaaannnnd breathe.
Yeah, that's a labor robot all right. Born (ha!) out of desperation due to waning birth rates, this robotic mother -- named Noelle -- gives birth to a robotic baby in various ways, over and over and over again, for the benefit of Korean medical students. It is not known why the mother robot and the baby robot have both been designed to look like Leatherface, but that's mainly because everyone we asked suddenly started crying blood.
Enjoy a robot childbirth, gang:
And Noelle is not alone. There are scores of robots that are built to emulate a very specific patient condition each and used as a way to train young doctors. The trouble is, the only thing these tutors will prepare anyone for treating is the mutant Ripley clone farm from Alien 4.
For instance, here's the robot currently hailed as the masterpiece of patient robots:
And she is seven kinds of hot!
Her name is Keiko, and she's capable of simulating several ailments, all of which seem a whole lot like the world's first robot zombie disease:
Then there are the patient simulator manikins, skin-suit-wearing robots that are used pretty much as guinea pigs. Confined to an operating table, they're used for simulating serious ailments such as swine flu. Oh, and they are also capable of speaking, complaining, convulsing, expressing pain and even crying. We're guessing when the other robots find out about this guy, they're gonna be pissed:
Especially when they see that neglected baby to the right.
And then there are the more ... specialized ones, which look like scientists don't even bother hiding the terror within anymore. Or how else would you explain the nasal endoscope manikin:
Somewhere, Trent Reznor just got a huge erection.
... or the veterinary manikin:
There is no way that guy still has that finger.
For more terror, check out The All-New Cracked.com Zombie Page featuring our most popular zombie articles like 5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocalypse Could Actually Happen and 7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak Would Fail Quickly.
For more robot-specific terror, check out 20 Japanese Robots Probably Intent on Murdering You and 6 Shocking Ways Robots Are Already Becoming Human.