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We must be on to something.  No sooner did we start our investigation into robot companions, than Japan launched the world’s first talking robot into space to serve as
companion to astronaut Kochi Wakata who will begin his mission in November.

Measuring 34cm (13 inches), Kirobo arrived at the ISS on August 9th.  Kirobo is part of a study to see how machines can lend emotional support to people isolated over long periods. Kirobo has been programmed to communicate in Japanese and keep records of its  conversations with Mr Wakata who will take over as commander of the ISS later this year.In addition, it is expected to relay messages from the control room to the astronaut.

Kirobo’s name derives from the Japanese words for “hope” and “robot”. The small android weighs about 1kg (2.2 pounds) and has a wide range of physical motion. As if this was not cool enough, looks like someone is applying their geekdom. Kirobo’s design was inspired by the legendary animation character Astro Boy. 

Moment of Science - Hawking

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I am proud to announce the premier of the second season of Doctor Geek’s Laboratory of Applied Geekdom.  In Episode 7 (S2E1), the investigation into Our Companion the Robot begins.  Will robots ever become third in command of a starship? Or will they snap and become our robot overlords?

Why is Doctor Geek’s Laboratory of Applied Geekdom called The Science from Fiction Podcast? Should it not be the Science from Science Fiction Podcast?  Well, by its very nature fiction must contain some story point, some element that does not exist in the world today.  If this element is explained in terms of magic, the story is classified as fantasy.  However, as Arthur C. Clarke’s third law states, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  Therefore I believe all the wonders of fiction can be explained in terms of science.  To help illustrate this, I have enlisted the help of NY Times Best Selling Author Debbie Viguié.

In addition to providing the voice of Claire, the grant committee liaison, on Doctor Geek’s Laboratory, Debbie Viguié is the bestselling author of over two dozen novels including the Wicked and Crusade series co-authored with Nancy Holder.  She is the Patron Saint of The Supernatural.  While her fiction is very compelling, she is also no stranger to science.  In fact, she uses science to explain the magic of her Witch Hunt Series.

Debbie and I will explore fiction’s top ten uses of magic and attempt to discover the science within.