Tempus Fugit and robot arms

By | November 26, 2018
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Do you ever think “Why? Why on earth did they bother?”

I do, sometimes. And something I read last week had me shaking me head and muttering “Why oh why”.

You see, I keep up with a lot of the latest developments in technology. Partly because I find it interesting and partly because, well, I need to know what’s going on to pick out what’s important to tell you about.

And last Friday I read about a new robot arm that’s been developed. It’s not a robot arm for people who’ve lost an arm and it’s not a robot arm that’s used in a factory or to construct things in dangerous places.

No, it’s a robot arm to feed you.

Literally – you strap it on around your body so it sticks out from your chest and then sit or stand in front of a table with food on plates.

Then the robot arm will pick up food from the plates and lift it up to your mouth.

It can’t put it in your mouth “for safety reasons” – it stops 5 or 6 inches away and you have to move your head to bite it off the robot hand.

That’s not all. It has a camera and looks at the faces of the people around it. When it picks up some food, it will only feed it to people who are smiling – assuming that’s because they like that food.

If you frown it won’t feed it to you (but might feed it to the person next to you if they’re smiling) and if you are in between it’ll just wait a while and see.

Not much good for me if I happen to be smiling at someone’s joke when it picks up some celery (which I hate).

But as I said at the start: “Why?”

I wondered if the idea was for people who can’t feed themselves for whatever reason – but no, that wasn’t what they were aiming for at all. In fact you still need to be able to move to take the food from the robot arm.

No, the point of it is that it’s supposed to make eating more “social”. The people who developed and tested it talk about it being more enjoyable to eat this way because it makes you interact with the other people rather than sitting looking at your mobile phone.

In fact they actually call it a “Social Augmented Dining System”

I suppose it could make a meal more social – you might be falling around laughing at the daftness of it. But I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you’d want to do regularly

Anyway, I suppose it might have helped them develop the technology a little – but I’m not sure there’s going to be a revolution in how we all eat… or that it’ll make meals more “social”.

Tempus fugit … and what’s in the course…
I can’t believe it sometimes, how fast time goes. I still can’t quite believe that Alastair is eight and a half… and getting close to thinking about secondary school.

And I can’t quite believe that it’s nearly the end of the month – but it is.

If you remember, the Windows 10 course I recently brought out is only available to enroll in until the end of this month. When I first launched it, a month seemed like a long time… but it’s nearly over.

So if you are interested, you have until the end of the week – then we close enrolment. (If you’ve already joined then you will still have access of course – we only close enrolment to new people.)

Several people have also asked for a bit more detail about exactly what’s covered – well, here’s what the different parts of the course are:

  • Part 1 – Introducing Windows 10
  • Part 2 – Basic Skills
  • Part 3 – Browsing the Web Using “Microsoft Edge”
  • Part 4 – Email and the Mail App
  • Part 5 – Some Fancier Windows Features
  • Part 6 – Windows Apps
  • Part 7 – Settings in Windows 10

(If you want to know exactly what topics are in each part, you can read that here)

Anyway, if you want to read more about the course you can find out about how it works, who it’s suitable for and so on here… and that’s where you can sign up to it if you want to. Don’t forget, at 5pm (UK time) on Friday, we’ll take down the “sign-up page” so if you’re interested best do it now.

6 thoughts on “Tempus Fugit and robot arms

  1. Heather

    Hello Tim,
    Belated Happy Birthday wishes for last week- or was it even the week before that! Tempus fugit- as you say in this week’s email.

    I definitely agree about the robotic arm development- why!!

    Now, I’d like to join the new course, but would like to pay in 3 instalments, but by debit card. On the form it was only showing credit card option. Is that right?

    Thank you for all the helps you give each week.

    1. Tim Wakeling Post author

      Hello Heather and thanks for the Birthday wishes!
      I’ve had a look and it’s just because the company that actually “host” the payment page for us call them all credit cards – but you should be able to put use a debit card in just the same way, it’s just whoever labelled the option didn’t think it through properly.
      I’ll have a look to see if I can change it for the future (though I’m not sure I’ll be able to – the banks and other payment companies are very strict on letting us change the payment page to make sure we don’t do anything dodgy!)


    As a preofoundly deaf person I am very disappointed that there is no text available for the Windos 10 course -so much as I would likje to be using it – I would not be able to.

  3. michael porter

    I can’t seem to access the video of introduction, the blue button not responding.
    Can you please help as I wish to get started.
    I have paid in full for the course.
    Regards, Michael Porter.

    1. Emma - The Helpful Book Company

      Hello Michael,
      That’s great so you’ve confirmed your email address with us, now to access the course you need the second email we sent to you “How to get started in Windows 10 made simple”, it’ll have come through at the same time as the one with the blue button, and that’s the one you need to access the course.
      I’ll also pop an email across to you with this information.
      If you’re still struggling please give me a call on 01229 777606 and I’m happy to help.


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