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March 6, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Shark Tank worthy: robots.

They laughed at the Segway. Goofy looking. Top heavy with hair smashing helmets.

This new thing is a natural progression: no more battling the weather (Selling point this winter), less worry about personal safety in public areas, and offering emotional protection, too.

Man gesturing to robot (Screenshot.CBS Sunday Morning Show/YouTube)

“What? You couldn’t wait in the lobby 5 minutes while I park the car? Really. I don’t know why I bother to try.” (Screenshot.CBS Sunday Morning Show/YouTube)

The de Young Museum of Fine Arts in San Francisco is rolling with two robots that allow those who can’t get there in person for one reason or another to tour the place.

The creative robot initiative team includes Henry Evans, once a fast-moving Silicon Valley executive now almost completely paralyzed. He may only have eye movement and slight function of one finger, but he’s determined. And smart.

Think of the possibilities.

Robots are already used in some hospitals, why not as personal travel devices?

Enter the Travel-ease Robot. (Trumpets and drum roll, please, Sharks.)

Robot and woman viewing painting with sculpture behind them (screenshot.CBS SUnday Morning Show/YouTube)

Portrait of three women: Present, Future, Past.(CBS Sunday Morning/YouTube)

Too afraid to leave your desk for vacation? Rent a Travel-ese Robot.

Your Travel-ease Robot can stroll around a Caribbean Island while you eat lunch in your office. Turn on the sun lamp. Wiggle your toes in a box of sand. Hey, light up an appropriately scented Yankee Candle for added sensory delight. Just like being there!

It’s a health issue. Mental and physical health. Robot rental fees should be covered  under mandatory insurance as cost-effective preventative care.

kids chatting with robot in museum (CBS Sunday Morning/

Having grown up with technology, kids don’t find chatting with robots odd at all.(CBS Sunday Morning/

Do it for the kids!

Can’t make the birthday party? Travel-ease Robots will let all share in the festivities. (Just watch rolling over toes, toddlers, and extension chords. Hint: Pay the extra for insurance to cover water damage if there’s a pool.)

Unwelcomed around your ex, but want to see the kids? Great for those awkward court ordered supervised visits. (Legal will have to untangle the possible reach of restraining orders.)

Just consider the wonder of no longer having to sit in the stands during bad weather for kids’ soccer games. No more melting in blazing bleachers during day long swim meets. Be supportive. Be cool!

Travel-ease Robots can even revolutionize family trips

Tired of the whines of “Everyone else is going to Disneyland” but just can’t afford it? Everyone onto the couch and roll right up to the princesses and rides with Travel-ease Robots. Even with the rental fees Disney is bound to charge for the robots, it’s economical: no hotels, food, or transportation costs. Souvenirs? Barter to get some T-shirts with robot rental.

Even Paris seems possible now. No more TSA airport drama. No frantic scramble to get passports updated in time. One wants to see museums while another wants to go shopping? No more problems about where and when to meet back up. Forget the suitcases. Simply settle in on the couch with your own clean restrooms available anytime – no waiting or searching for the proper word. Your local French restaurant is glad to deliver completing the experience. What else is needed?

(Hmmm. Now there’s another business opportunity. Travel agents could facilitate Travel-ease Robot rentals and include as a bonus a box of assorted products shipped from the client’s “destination” to enhance the experience. Sharks?)

Couple chatting with robot. (screenshot.CBS Sunday Morning Show/YouTube)

Germ-free way to explore other places and cultures. (CBS Sunday Morning Show/YouTube)

Possibilities are endless. A real Shark Tank winner.

Had enough and finally want to tell your mother-in-law what you think? Do it from a safe distance! The face of family reunions could change drastically. (Bound to lower blood pressure, so rental fees, once again, covered by health insurance. Win-win.)

Think it’s cruel to break up a relationship by a text? So much less emotionally draining by robot, yet still saying “I cared enough to show up and do it in person. Sort of.” (“Hey stop kicking. Don’t walk away. Set me upright. Upright. I cared enough to do this face to face!”)

Much easier to tell your boss, you’re sick and can’t work. Screen performances allow for special effects. No one has to see that beach bag by the door or flip flop attire.

Visit to De Young Fine Arts Museum by Henry Evans, robotic activist and former Silicon Valley Exec. (CBS Sunday Morning/YouTube)

Henry Evans visiting the de Young Museum (Screenshot.CBS Sunday Morning/YouTube)

Robots are opening the world for those who are stuck in one place or the other.

Intrigued about the museum and robot activist Henry Evans? Watch more here.

Evans uses all sorts of robots daily. Drones let him view his garden and roof solar panels.

Woman with robot in gallery (screenshot CBS Sunday Morning/YouTube)

Hey, this is a great idea for an outing. Can’t wait for tonight’s bachelorette party! (screenshot.CBS Sunday Morning Show/YouTube)

Profit driven sharks will quickly make a splash with Travel-ease Robots.

In the future, if more robots perform routine chores, what’s left to keep people out of trouble?

Now there’s a worry.

Probably already been written about in some novel.  Only fiction, right?

Wired with thought.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Lone Robot gazing at paintings in gallery.(screenshot CBS Sunday Morning Show.YouTube)

A glimpse into the future? A lone robot in a museum muses over a previous civilization. Wondering perhaps how the primitives managed to survive the weather and dirt. Puzzled why the savages painted landscapes or pictures at all.(Screenshot.CBS Sunday Morning Show/YouTube)




  1. shoreacres / Mar 6 2015 1:28 pm

    For some reason, this seems truly pathetic. I’ll give it another try after I have my contact lenses in, and have had a cup of coffee. All of these gadgets, from iphones to art-viewing robots, seem to me to be distancing and disengaging us from life. But I’m a crank. I know that.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 6 2015 4:08 pm

      Always a double edged sword. Once sociologist mentioned recently that the selfie stick is allowing people to become even more detatched: you can avoid asking another human being to take your picture and isolate yourself even further.
      The museum has another goal: finding a way for those bed ridden/disabled to view and interact in their museum. Use of the robots is limited. (With as many soldiers returning home missing limbs and now with physical limits, seems like there should be a clause in their enlistment forms: “The government agrees to replace any missing/damaged limb with free robotics for life”. Yeah, the VA is there, but it doesn’t work even now…) OK back on topic.
      Watch/click the links (started including videos and stuff as so many have tossed TVs…we may next).
      Possibly things do happen for a reason: Evans is probably one of the few who have the brains, the knowledge, the will, and the connections to make life easier for so many paralyzed people.
      But as usual, those who really don’t need the robots will find a way to substitute them for making any effort on their own and to avoid all those messy interactions with other humans. Bet robots will never do teak well – that’s an art form. Thanks for crafting a comment!


  2. easyweimaraner / Mar 6 2015 1:32 pm

    I think they are a little scary :o) and speaking of hospitals, I was shocked as I checked out the fabulous “robot bed”,suddenly my feet where near the ceiling after pushing a button, and I accidentally closed the sunshades… my room mate needed hours to find her remote in the sudden darkness to roll the systems back :o( naaah I’m not really with Styx’ “Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto” .o)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 6 2015 4:11 pm

      Oh, Easy, Molly thought the robot table was an earthquake and leaped into her dad’s arms…or she thought it was going to carry her away and that’s not gonna happen. She came home and tried to eat the TV remote as a warning to staff to avoid robots. Thanks for romping over to share your robotic experience!


  3. Kate Crimmins / Mar 6 2015 2:03 pm

    At last a way to do nasty things from a distance. I like that! Wonder how you would try on shoes while shopping?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 6 2015 4:15 pm

      All sorts of applications. How about having to give performance reviews to those dramatic/emotional employees? The Sharks should be fighting over this product. (Maybe have a foot image/shape on the screen? Those shoe designers should scan the shoes and let you try on virtually? Not all of us have those sleek model feet, though…..May need some more thinking on this one. They can ship, right? giggles.) Thanks for rolling along with the conversation

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ally Bean / Mar 6 2015 4:27 pm

    Dear Lord, this reminds me of an episode of TBBT in which Sheldon wants to protect his physical self from the real world, so he makes himself into a virtual machine just like this one. Which came first, the TV show or the Travel-ease Robot?!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 6 2015 4:59 pm

      If we hurry we can get ours in front of the Shark investors first? (Had forgotten about that episode. Thanks for the reminder!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Eagle-Eyed Editor / Mar 6 2015 4:31 pm

    It reminds me a bit of that Bruce Willis movie called “Surrogates”. The idea overall is intriguing and I like the idea that these robots could be useful for people who can’t be there in person for physical reasons.

    J.D. Robb (futuristic cop/romance writer) often talks about androids and holograms. Who knows? Maybe our holograms will do more interacting for us in the future.

    Some experiences, though, you just can’t replicate by robot. Seeing Rembrandt’s “Nightwatch” in person, the relaxation you get from stroking a cat’s fur….and so on.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 6 2015 5:06 pm

      I’ve always read a great deal of novels speculating on the future. (Robb,actually one of them). Such potential with robots – and such a double edged sword. Pictures of the great paintings on screen or in books doesn’t come close to actually seeing them (and that’s difficult to explain if you haven’t witnessed it with a painting you really really like. So many of the painting in person are so large – that alone is impressive, not to mention the brush strokes and play of light through/on the layers of paint. Images of the real thing are poor twins when compared with reality.
      Using tools correctly/most appropriate and beneficial way is not always a strong point for humans.Thanks for constructing an astute comment


  6. Carrie Rubin / Mar 6 2015 6:00 pm

    Hmm, it seems I can already get the same from movies and books. 😉


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 6 2015 7:09 pm

      Could be really good for introverts invited to social situations? (giggles – the person could sit at home with a script/list of snappy comebacks and remarks and never again be stuck to what to say in groups?). “Renta-attitude Bots” Oh, we’ll come up with some catchy name. Thanks for rollin’ by to chat


      • Carrie Rubin / Mar 6 2015 7:40 pm

        Now you’re talking!


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 6 2015 10:06 pm

          It’s the list of perfect quips that’s the most attractive. How many times “Oh, why didn’t I think of that then?” Thanks for dreaming along

          Liked by 1 person

  7. The Hook / Mar 7 2015 1:08 am

    I’m going to be replaced?


    • dogear6 / Mar 7 2015 4:02 pm

      Naw. Robots don’t respond when they get yelled at, even if to just be stony eyed. Nor are they lifting extra heavy luggage!

      Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 7 2015 11:38 pm

      No way, Hook. Nothing trips you up. Thanks for rolling a comment over


  8. Paul / Mar 7 2015 2:47 am

    Ooookay. i am doubtful if that technology will be a hit, one could watch a movie or a TV program to get as good a tour. No extra sensory input.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 7 2015 11:43 pm

      Any other Sharks interested? Family reunions alone…difficult job performance reviews with confrontational employees? Maybe the VA will supply them to vets who are paralyzed.(Fingers crossed Apple doesn’t find a way to add smell-o-vision..that could be a game changer…along with heating and cooling air flow to simulate the climate….) Thanks for adding a view


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 7 2015 11:59 pm

      Hey – you have a schedule of you guest posts? Always appreciate you letting me know. Hope the week went well. We had a day of sun, so dogs outside (the German is visiting a bit). But heavy rain moving in tomorrow afternoon for several days. Getting towels ready for muddy paws….RC Cat quite perturbed…


  9. EllaDee / Mar 7 2015 6:59 am

    Don’t we already do this via the wonderful medium of blogging… [and TV…hmmm] ok, I guess it has the benefit of being real time but I’d miss the human commentary 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 7 2015 11:45 pm

      Since the robots do allow you to speak to those around you, there would be sounds and conversations possible..but nothing left in writing to confirm what was said. Wait – better ban politicians from using them! Thanks for screening a few thoughts


  10. dogear6 / Mar 7 2015 4:03 pm

    Actually, I didn’t think it was a bad idea. My local museum has a fair amount of stuff on-line, but a robot would convey much more of what’s actually there.



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 7 2015 11:47 pm

      Rolling robots are a real answer to those who are disabled and unable to get around. Anything that allows interaction with others – no matter on screen or not – that’s got to be a good thing. Thanks for guiding a comment down these halls.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. heretherebespiders / Mar 7 2015 7:02 pm

    Great idea for handicapped people. Not so keen on the other proposed uses!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 7 2015 11:50 pm

      Always a double edged sword. For every positive and beneficial use, somewhere someone is figuring out a way to make money or cause trouble with it. (Do you think they could roll through a fast food drive thru, order and then bring it to the house? Another thing to worry about…bullies stealing robot money or food on the way.) Thanks for programing in a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  12. roughseasinthemed / Mar 8 2015 7:00 pm

    Sounds good to me. I’m sure they make more sense than many people. Including me.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 9 2015 12:54 am

      Robots have real potential. You know some will use them to muddle things up….like bank robberies, for example. Only a matter of time. (Will they have backup batteries in case they lose charge mid robbery? Can people move faster/blindside an awkward robot?) Robots might really help in small communities/rural areas where there aren’t specialized docs by having a long distance consult during a procedure. It’s already being done in some places. Have to hope the beneficial uses surge before the negative ones. Thanks for wiring up a comment


  13. marthaschaefer / Mar 8 2015 7:44 pm

    What’s wrong with just going to the museum? Sounds fine for long distance educational and disabled applications but I’m not convinced it is otherwise good for the future of mankind. Can it walk the dog?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 9 2015 12:22 am

      Molly is far too smart to be walked by this robot device. She’d have that thing turned around and down the road, then having it order up hamburgers or something. A little fine tuning still needed? Thanks for spinning a comment in this direction

      Liked by 1 person

  14. roughwighting / Mar 9 2015 10:58 am

    I think this is definitely something that we’ll see lots more of in the (near-distant) future. Not surprised the SF museum is going for it. Between our life now of too many people/too much traffic, and so much ‘everywhere,’ here there and, well, everywhere, this will be a staple in our society soon. That’s my guess!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 9 2015 12:49 pm

      Not as much of a joke as seeing real potential. CA and SF is certainly the area where there’s ability and will to make this happen – for all sorts of situations for those who are bedridden, or very old, or simply haven’t a lot of spare money to go places. You can watch a video of a place around the world, but how much more fun to roll along and see the sites as you “walk” – guided by a local historian/tour guide or even a distant relative – and being able to talk real time with each other just like being there in person. “And here is where you grandfather was born…”
      It all has the opportunity to be a fun ride. Thanks for rolling along.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Roxie / Mar 9 2015 7:32 pm

    I can see it now, email to Sunscribe team, “The holiday party is optional, consider the benefit to us all if we stay at our desks, working, while a robot heads to the event, which we scheduled in Bora Bora this year! Trinkets to mark the event are on Instagram. Enjoy!”
    Thanks for another excellent post, Phil!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 9 2015 10:29 pm

      Nooooo! Not the holiday party! Thinking more like snowstorm meetings in the office while you stay home in nice warm (but attractive) lounge clothes…wonder if robots can save parking spaces at the mall and on snowy streets….hmmm. Thanks for adding some zap to the comment pile

      Liked by 1 person

      • Roxie / Mar 10 2015 1:44 am



        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 10 2015 1:45 pm

          I’m coming to work for you guys if you plan meetings on the beach!


          • Roxie / Mar 23 2015 5:00 pm

            noted, Phil! FYI (hint, hint, to anyone who wants to toss money at a new company) that’s my favorite way to work, LOL!

            Liked by 1 person

  16. jannatwrites / Mar 13 2015 5:18 am

    While there is some benefit for those who cannot physically, for one reason or another, go somewhere, I do think we should be cautious in embracing something like this… there really isn’t a substitute for living life. And really, I don’t believe I would enjoy watching a robot enjoy the Caribbean while I’m toiling away at my desk…. perhaps the other way around and I’d be more receptive, haha.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 13 2015 3:24 pm

      You are right. People would be so much happier working from pleasant locations and sending the robots to office meetings. Save on commuting costs as the robots could just stay in the closet there. Would meetings be less or more confrontational/petty? “Hey, sorry. I didn’t mean to trip up your robot there. You seem a little cracked now. It was not intentional and I was talking about the robot, not you!” Thanks for rolling out a futuristic comment


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