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WETA Working on Robotic Lizard For Science

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-want-me-a-robo-bunny dept.

Robotics 92

Roland Piquepaille writes "The tuatara, which is both related to lizards and snakes, is one of the planet's oldest reptile species. It's been living in New Zealand for about 200 million years. Scientists still don't know much about their behavior, so they've asked Weta Workshop, a Wellington-based company known for its work on 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy, to build a robotic male tuatara. It is equipped with cameras which will help the researchers to discover how real male tuatara attract and keep females. The goal is to help conservation managers to the genetically fittest, most productive males. But what will happen if a female tuatara discovers that the robot is an impostor?"

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92 comments

Er...how? (4, Insightful)

Ambvai (1106941) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462603)

Maybe I'm missing the point here... but are they trying to replicate the appearance and behavior of an animal to study the behavior of real version of the animal? ...I sense a logic error. But really- what about all the chemical signatures? Hormones, pheromones, various smells, etc.

Re:Er...how? (5, Funny)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462825)

I agree. Imagine that realdolls [www.realdolls] are actually a scientific project from aliens, equipped with cameras and wireless transmitters, for the sake of studying human replication behaviour. Now imagine the kind of image these aliens would get from human replication behaviour, this would be rather skewed, wouldn't it.

Also imagine how the slashdotters will behave towards their realdolls after having read this. Or better, try your best not to imagine any of this.

Re:Er...how? (2, Informative)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462843)

I agree. Imagine that realdolls [www.realdolls] are actually a scientific project from aliens, equipped with cameras and wireless transmitters, for the sake of studying human replication behaviour.

Realdolls is what we, humans, can produce. I'm sure that a Tuatara also can't build a realistic model of itself with great success. But we're kinda more intelligent than them and I'd say we could fool a lizard, if we try hard enough.

There's no information what would a scientific project from aliens would do to test highly evolved human subjects, but if I had to shoot in the dark about this one, I'd go for biological units built from altered human DNA. That's fool ya, wouldn't it?

Re:Er...how? (4, Funny)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462967)

Ah, your comment gave me the solution! Indeed, the Tuatura is, by itself, hardly able to use the tools needed to buy themselves a robot Tuatura for their casual sex pleasure. So, what do they do? They leave their Tuatura planet and start a milion year journey through space, until they found a planet with creatures that have opposable thumbs. These creatures were dumb as shit, but that was not a problem for the Tuatura, as they can influence any creature with their mind waves. Now, this doesn't go particularly fast, also because Tuaturas tend to stop doing anything at night. But they don't mind, they have time enough anyway. What is happening now, and all our technological advancement in general, is just nearing its end in the creation of the final goal, the robot Tuatura sex slave. Damnit man, we're voluntarily building it for them! And you call us more intelligent than them! Did anyone ever gave YOU a robot sex slave for free?

I have additional evidence for the Tuaturas being aliens, so it must be true: Remember that Poster in the creationism museum telling us that after the fall of Eden it was harsh work for all of us? Well, think about what Tuaturas do all day! They just sit around on a warm rock in the sun waiting till some small insect comes by that they eat. Is that harsh labor? Also, isn't this an extraorddrinary intelligent way to spend your day, instead of working your ass of for a meager salary? These are not from here dude.

Re:Er...how? (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19463011)

Did anyone ever gave YOU a robot sex slave for free?

Yup, and she was a hot porn star, but when I said "I agree, but without cameras", and they gave up.

Clearly Tuaturas are more advanced than humans. (2, Funny)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#19463125)

Yes, clearly Tuaturas are more advanced than humans. On the second page of the linked article it says that Tuaturas have methods of avoiding aggression. Humans, on the other hand, kill other humans [democracynow.org] over anything that will make money, like restricting the supply of oil to make more profit.

Re:Clearly Tuaturas are more advanced than humans. (2, Informative)

loganrapp (975327) | more than 6 years ago | (#19463453)

This is why I never invite PoliSci majors to a party.

Re:Er...how? (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 6 years ago | (#19463467)

Did anyone ever gave YOU a robot sex slave for free?
Yes! It came in the mail together with a giant penis enlargement.

Re:Er...how? (1)

charlieman (972526) | more than 6 years ago | (#19464971)

Ha ha ha, I thought you were gonna say they were looking for the answer of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Re:Er...how? (1)

Barryke (772876) | more than 6 years ago | (#19484259)

But they don't mind, they have time enough anyway. What is happening now, and all our technological advancement in general, is just nearing its end in the creation of the final goal, the robot Tuatura sex slave. Damnit man, we're voluntarily building it for them! And you call us more intelligent than them! Did anyone ever gave YOU a robot sex slave for free?
I like your comment. Actually that's how i see the world. (even before i read Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy) We're just planted here to get our hivemind harvested. *readjusts tinfoil glasses*

Re:Er...how? (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#19631265)

Ah, indeed, I forgot but indeed I must have gotten this idea subconsiously from HGTTG. I also still think of HGTTG everytime I am hungry and there is dubious old stuff in the fridge. Part of my mind tells me not to eat it, the rest tells me it might kill any potential alien parasite I might have. Thanks for all the fish, Douglas Adams!

Re:Er...how? (2, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#19465343)

I'm sure that a Tuatara also can't build a realistic model of itself with great success.
They've been around for 200 million years! I think they know how to make realistic models of themselves with great success.

Thus our interest in their mating rituals.

Re:Er...how? (2, Funny)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 6 years ago | (#19463081)

Imagine that realdolls [www.realdolls] are actually a scientific project from aliens, equipped with cameras and wireless transmitters, for the sake of studying human replication behaviour. Now imagine the kind of image these aliens would get from human replication behaviour


King Xyylax! We have studied the human mating behavior for years and now know precisely how it happens! Once the woman is boiled, coitus is brief, then the woman is doused in bleach before she is thrown in a closet and covered with dirty clothes. Then the male weeps uncontrollably for several minutes before falling asleep. Invasion should be simple.

Re:Er...how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19463975)

Err ... most of us use tissues. What *are* you using?

Re:Er...how? (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19466293)

But really- what about all the chemical signatures? Hormones, pheromones, various smells, etc.

It seems you missed something important. Like the fact that the point of this is to learn something about its behavior. They will find out if that shit is even important. I could make an argument for it going either way. My parrot tries to hump me, and I'm not even the same goddamned species, so who knows what they will find.

I for one... (1, Redundant)

TwistedEvo (974889) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462611)

"But what will happen if a female tuatara discovers that the robot is an impostor?" Welcome out new Cyborg lizard Overloards.

Re:I for one... (1)

MonkWB (724056) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462901)

I wouldn't call this redundant, kinda like saying that you do obviously welcome blah blah blah.
It seems we need a mod for stupidity cause that isn't, I don't think, redundant.

Re:I for one... (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 6 years ago | (#19463251)

More likely, she'll sue Weta for sexual harassement and make big money in court.

Re:I for one... (2, Funny)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470437)

Why don't they just come to the USA and borrow our very own robotic lizard, Dickie Cheney???

A Female? (3, Interesting)

fractalVisionz (989785) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462617)

Wouldn't they want to use a female to learn about male behavior instead of a male. Yes, with a male they can do aggression tests with robot vs. animal. However, with a female that attracts males, they can see real animals vs. animal aggression and behavior.

Oh no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19462621)

Not another Rob Schneider movie!

So on the first attempt (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462627)

They're gonna build a stud Tutuara? I think their females are a little more discerning then that!

They should build a female, I've met some pretty crazy females and they do quite well.

Male [Tutuara's] just aren't that discerning.

:P

Re:So on the first attempt (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#19463095)

I would have thought that a fake alpha male would make attract all the females and make all the real males feel totally inadequate, so making them go off feeling all sorry for themselves since they're not good enough for the females. If a female loses her way on the to the fake alpha, I males would go, "Oh, you don't want us inadequate males! No, you want to go over there with all the other females and that *huge* stud." ...and, thus, another species bites the dust thanks to mankind.

Tutuara? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19462633)

The article says "tuatara", it doesn't say "tutuara" a single time. Where could any possible confusion come from?

If the lizards find out... (1)

Romwell (873455) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462635)

...they'll probably sell it in their Tutuara sex shop. Probably marketed under iTutuargasm trademark...

Tutuara? (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462639)

WTF is a Tutuara?
Could we at least get the name right in the title?

Tuatara

Re:Tutuara? (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462869)

Apparently not, Zonk has now edited the heading to something completely different.
Oh well, at least it's proof that slashdot 'editors' don't just copy and paste.

Re:Tutuara? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19463275)

Unfortunately it's also proof that the ignore the "typo" tag on the firehose.

Re:Tutuara? (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 6 years ago | (#19463551)

Which would be fine, except that Tuatara are [i]not[/i] lizards. Reptiles, yes, and they're certainly related to lizards, but they're not lizards - they're older than that.

a couple things wrong here (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462643)

Is it just me or are they screwing with just about everything by doing this? Conservation does not mean every single animal species should survive. If they're too stupid/malfunctional to mate on their own, shouldn't they not survive? I thought that was the whole point lol. By using robots and scientists and stuff to mess with the processes and trying to determine which ones should mate and forcing them find each other based on our judgement, instead of letting them do it on their own, can't end well.

Re:a couple things wrong here (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19462743)

Perhaps they could have survived easily on their own if humans didn't go and do damnfool things like put stoats on uninhabitied islands? It's mainly due to human actions these animals are endangered.

It would be so, if... (3, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#19463229)

It would be so, if humans weren't destroying everyone's habitat.

The fact is, those animals evolved (via natural selection, survival of the fittest, etc) to live in, say, a jungle, not in a place where jungles are razed down and replaced with either a concrete nightmare or with farms to produce biodiesel/ethanol/whatever. Evolution takes hundreds of thousands of years, and those animals just don't get that to adapt to the new environment.

Even something as apparently benign as putting a road through their habitat can screw those animals big time, because they just didn't evolve the sense to look out for cars coming at 100 mph. Sure, they _might_ evolve that sense in another 100-200 thousand years, but they might not survive that long.

And then there's stuff where humans deliberately mess with the balance there. E.g., some wise guy decided to introduce rabbits to Australia, but without predators they multiplied like rabbits (if you pardon the pun), and squeezed the native equivalent (the Bilby) into near-extinction. E.g., then some wise guy introduced foxes, but then these multiplied like rabbits too because the native fauna just hadn't evolved the instincts to run away from a predator. So whole species were nothing but fox chow suddenly. And the rabbits just proved a little extra meal, helping the foxes pretty much overrun Australia.

It's just not the environment in which those animals evolved. We're changing the rules and the game there, and the animals just don't have the time to evolve a defense. The half a century it took european foxes to spread across Australia is just a tiny blip at evolutionary time scales. It's not survival of the fittest, it's a massacre.

It's, if you will, like filling your room with chlorine gas and then saying "ah, wtf, you should have evolved to the new environment. If you didn't, hey, not everyone must survive." Evolution just doesn't work that way.

And then there are species which the humans actively hunted. It's damn hard to evolve a defense against a species with rifles in the first place, especially since it's not a modification of an existing threat. And we've had guns, for, what? Maybe half a millenium? (And guns which also have a decent range and/or accuracy, for at most two centuries.) Evolution just doesn't work that fast.

If you want a species where hunting them was senseless too, take the Dodo. It was a harmless bird whose meat tasted bad too. It was perfectly adapted for its original habitats, but wasn't prepared for massive deforestation and being hunted. Not only it was hunted to provision ships quickly anyway (bad tasting meat is better than no meat, after all) and by the refugees, there are reports of colonists killing them with sticks and stones just for fun. You know, the, "haw haw, lookit the dumb bird who's too stupid to run away" kind of fun. It went extinct pretty fast.

That's really the whole point of these preservation efforts. It's species which we already know will go extinct if noone protects them, because we changed the rules of the game too fast for them to evolve.

Re:It would be so, if... (1)

TheBig1 (966884) | more than 6 years ago | (#19464789)

And then there's stuff where humans deliberately mess with the balance there. E.g., some wise guy decided to introduce rabbits to Australia, but without predators they multiplied like rabbits (if you pardon the pun), and squeezed the native equivalent (the Bilby) into near-extinction. E.g., then some wise guy introduced foxes, but then these multiplied like rabbits too because the native fauna just hadn't evolved the instincts to run away from a predator. So whole species were nothing but fox chow suddenly. And the rabbits just proved a little extra meal, helping the foxes pretty much overrun Australia.

LISA
But aren't the [foxes] even worse?

SKINNER
Yes, but we're prepared for that. We've lined up a fabulous type of gorilla that thrives on [fox] meat.

LISA
But then we're stuck with gorillas!

SKINNER
No, that's the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the gorillas simply freeze to death.

Just as an extra random thought (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#19463267)

Just as an extra random thought: evolution and natural selection never had to work their was to being a perfect defense. Yet with human hunters that's the only thing that would work.

E.g., the defense of rabbits isn't being too fast for any fox. Part of the defense is the natural balance of it all: if the population of rabbits declines too much, some foxes starve to death too, so the population of rabbits gets a chance to rebound. So some _will_ survive anyway, it just happens that on the average it will be the fitter ones.

When dealing with human hunters, that's just not the case. If the population of rabbits drops too much, humans will eat other stuff and continue hunting the rabbits anyway. That's how we drove the wooly mammoth, or the wolves and lynxes in most of Europe, extinct for example: even when the populations dropped dangerously low, these new two-legged predators just wouldn't follow the normal cycle, and continued hunting them just as fast and furious.

We didn't even have to hunt every last one, btw. Just push a species under a certain number or density, and from there it will die off anyway.

There also just isn't an obvious mechanism by which the fitter would have a significantly higher chance to survive. When a lioness chases some gazelles, it will generally settle for the slowest. Even being marginally fitter makes a huge difference in survivability. You don't have to outrun the lioness, you just have to outrun the slowest pack member. That's really what drives the survival of the fittest for a lot of species.

Another factor, and it works even for non-herd animals, is that you only need to be a less attractive target than some other species there. See how the european foxes in Australia preferred the native species, and only picked on the european rabbits when nothing else was available. So the rabbits most of the time could survive even while being the slowest in that group, because the fox would prefer a bilby instead.

With a human with a scoped rifle, it just doesn't work that way. Even being the fittest deer doesn't mean you won't get targetted just the same. In fact, for some species it will just make you a better trophy, so you'll be a more likely target.

Briefly, expecting survival of the fittest to work against humans... just won't work. Ever. Since the stone age we've been fitter than any species, and disproportionately more able to drive them extinct. If you go by survival of the fittest, then the only survivors will be the humans.

Re:Just as an extra random thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19463821)

So?

What has made humans such a fit species is, as you say, adaptability, if one food source is depleted, we go for another. Another reason is our ability to manipulate, make the world fit us.
The first to go extinct are most often our competitors, wolves and other predators first, then the dangers, imagine an angry mammoth, big danger, lots of food.
We have domesticated the most interesting animals regarding our own survival, and these will probably survive as long as we, unless we all suddenly turn vegan. Regarding other, less interesting, species, well they better be adaptable, or else they won't survive our manipulation. Of course it'll be at least another 10'000 years before all other living species are capable of surviving in our company.
Anyway at the bottom line, it is survival of the fittest; only thing that has changed is that we decide what to fit in to.

Alright perhaps that putting it to the extreme, but you started!
It is important to make do with the resources we have, only stressing the environment what's strictly necessary, clean energy and clever constructions and all that, but much too often i find environmentalists exaggerating. Yes there's species getting extinct, but do we really need them all? Those species we keep alive artificially won't ever find their perfect living conditions again, it's like letting someone die slow and painfully.
It's the same thing with global warming, environmentalists panic and yells out about how much action we need to do now. To me it seems like abusing PR to create FUD, which will of course lead to some immediate changes.
To honest, how many good ideas have been bred from panic? What if our immediate reactions are not any better than what we do already? I'm thinking about how nuclear power has not yet been allowed in my country, even though that it is, despite its complications, hundreds of times cleaner than coal, which is legal. I'm thinking about how we're now growing food, just to make it into ethanol, to fuel our cars, making the facilities needed to make food into fuel and everything, despite that there's even better ways to make ethanol, just around the corner, facilities that does not require a source of the same quality as food products, but can live off waste products. What good is fuel cell technology if the fuel is made from coal-power?

Whatever you do, don't panic... ...please? ...I'm tired of the noise really.

Re:Just as an extra random thought (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#19467591)

Heh. Actually, I'm not going to panic at all, especially since I'm not really an environmentalist.

Other than that, pretty much noone ever said that those species will ever find their perfect environment or niche ever again. They're kept, pretty much, as museum pieces. It's not survival of the fittest, and that's pretty much what I was saying too. We already know we're fit enough to wipe them out.

Pretty much that's all that that conservation is: keeping bits of Earth as museums where we can still see what lived there before we came along. There are valid environmental concerns around, but noone's imagining that those species will some day become fit enough to dodge bullets from scoped rifles. (If we actually thought they could evolve Matrix-like reflexes, we'd probably just kill them before they do.)

Same as we keep some pharaoh's sarcophagus or a 17'th century musket in a museum, really. Noone imagines that the pharaoh will some day get fit enough to rise from the sarcophagus (what with the organs being in separate jars) or that the muskets will someday become better than a modern assault rifle. But we keep them there anyway.

Now you can propose destroying the museums, for all I care. I'd find it sorta sad, but I'm not going to panic. But that's really what it is: destroying a bit of the past. Not "survival of the fittest." That's all I'm saying.

Short Treatise On Lizard Dominances (3, Interesting)

shawn443 (882648) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462649)

lizard bar + lizard booze + sexy lizard whore = some bad ass lizard dominance.

tuataras are NOT lizards (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462811)

There are 5 types of reptiles: lizards, snakes, turtles, crocs and tuataras ...

LSL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19462847)

All this talk of lizards and mating reminds me of Leisure Suit Larry and the Land of the Lounge Lizards. Looking for Love...

Re:tuataras are NOT lizards (1)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 6 years ago | (#19465681)

There are 5 types of reptiles: lizards, snakes, turtles, crocs and tuataras ...
Actually, snakes and lizards are from the same order (Squamata), so there are just four orders of reptiles.

Behavior isn't as complicated as we think (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19462657)

Mark Tilden is the father of robots that mimic biology. What he has clearly demonstrated is that behavior, especially in insects, obeys very simple rules.

His insect robots have almost no processing power and yet mimic the behavior of real bugs very well.

Based on Tilden's experience, it would seem that these lizard? experimenters may actually be on the right path.

http://home.earthlink.net/~douglaspage/id25.html [earthlink.net]

Re:Behavior isn't as complicated as we think (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 6 years ago | (#19464333)

What he has clearly demonstrated is that behavior, especially in insects, obeys very simple rules. His insect robots have almost no processing power and yet mimic the behavior of real bugs very well.

Interesting, I'll bet I could make a robotic /. poster. I'd just make some minor variations to Eliza [www-ai.ijs.si] . For example:

"Dup. Wasn't WETA Working on Robotic Lizard For Science months ago?"
"I was Working on Robotic Lizard For Science for the last 10 years. Nothing new here."
"What is the carbon footprint of WETA works on Robotic Lizard for Science?"
"Microsoft is evil because WETA Working on Robotic Lizard for science"

Re:Behavior isn't as complicated as we think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19467799)

"Bats aren't bugs!"

Nor are lizards a type of insect.

As a recent transplant to NZ... (1)

pschmied (5648) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462677)

Let me just say that endangered tuatara's taste delicious.

*ducks*

Just kidding. Spotted kiwi birds [wikipedia.org] and little blue penguins [wikipedia.org] taste much better.

All joking aside, we've got got a lot of truly unique wildlife here. I feel fortunate to have seen some of these, even if only at the zoo.

-Peter

Re:As a recent transplant to NZ... (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462831)

Let me just say that endangered tuatara's taste delicious.

*ducks*

Just kidding. Spotted kiwi birds [wikipedia.org] and little blue penguins [wikipedia.org] taste much better.

All joking aside, we've got got a lot of truly unique wildlife here. I feel fortunate to have seen some of these, even if only at the zoo.


Zoo, huh. Is this the NZ for "restaurant" :P?

I'm pretty sure controlling it would be (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462693)

like playing Leisure Suit Larry.

Lounge Lizard? Get it? funny? ok, i'll take a seat over there.

pineal gland (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19462701)

the tuatara has vestigal third eye. According to wikipedia it can be seen up until maturity. And it retains much of the anatomical features of an eye, including a lense, cornea and retina with rod like cells.

it is interesting that the pineal gland is thought to be a vestigal third eye. there is a clear relation between visualisation/consciousness and an eye.

Re:pineal gland (4, Informative)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462853)

the tuatara has vestigal third eye. According to wikipedia ...

Widipedia [wikipedia.org] does not refer to it as vestigial, it gives some possible functions:
"Its purpose is unknown, but it may be useful in absorbing ultraviolet rays to manufacture vitamin D,[7] as well as to determine light/dark cycles, and help with thermoregulation.[8] Of all extant tetrapods, the parietal eye is most pronounced in the tuatara. The parietal eye is part of the pineal complex, another part of which is the pineal gland, which in tuatara secretes melatonin at night.[8] It has been shown that some salamanders use their pineal body to perceive polarised light, and thus determine the position of the sun, even under cloud cover, aiding navigation."

it is interesting that the pineal gland is thought to be a vestigal third eye.

Neither is the pineal gland [wikipedia.org] thought to be vestigial. The reference to the "third eye" in the "Mythologies, cultures and philosophies" section.

there is a clear relation between visualisation/consciousness and an eye.

A relationship between visualisation and eyes? You don't say!

The're not lizards! (5, Interesting)

kithrup (778358) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462733)

The tuatara isn't actually a lizard (any more than a crocodile is). They're pretty neat reptiles -- as a poster notes below, they have a "third eye" (they're not unique in this regard, some iguana species do as well, but not as well-developed as the tuatara's) -- and they require cold temperatures. Non-New Zealand zoos that get tuatara have to have triple cooling methods.

Re:The're not lizards! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19462801)

Mod parent up.

A tuatara is actually a Rhynchocephalian (literally meaning, 'Beak Head'). It is not a lizard, because of it's skull structure.

Us New Zealander's are lucky enough to have some amazing wildlife, and the tuatara is a perfect example of this fact.

Re:The're not lizards! (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471601)

Yes, but they look like lizards. OK, if you look real close there are some interesting differences (no penis!). But reminding people that a tuatara isn't a lizard is sort of like making an issue of the fact that the peanut is actually a kind of bean [nutsonline.com] .

WETA, WETA, WETA (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462805)

These guys are suspicious to me. They make feautre movie CGI animation, statues, robots, clothing lines, steampunk guns, paintings, magazines and comic books.

I'm telling you, it's all a huge scam, an experiment to push us and see at what point we realize it's all a reality game. Right? Right!?

I... I wanna work there :(

tuatara (1)

phindrup (1043402) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462809)

'The tuatara, which is both related to lizards and snakes'. I'm going back long years, and knowledge changes, but I don't believe that that quoted above is correct, except in a very general and meaningless way. As I remember they are a remnant of the dinosaur era.

I know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19462821)

This robot makes an ideal spy!

Not getting it (3, Funny)

codeButcher (223668) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462865)

That's almost like equipping an android (or in lieu of that, a geek) with cameras to figure out how "real" men "attract and keep females".

Robot sex (2, Funny)

Chiasmus_ (171285) | more than 6 years ago | (#19462873)

It looks like, basically, what's been created is a realistic robot tuatara designed to attract females and essentially turn them on sexually through dominance displays. And at least in theory, it's real enough that they can't distinguish it from the real thing. If we have this technology - why are we wasting it on lizard-snakes?? Where's my robot girlfriend?

Re:Robot sex (1)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 6 years ago | (#19463495)

Gee, Mavis... your house is all the way across the street. That's an awful long way to go for making out. *kisses Monrobot*

Re:Robot sex (1)

cammoblammo (774120) | more than 6 years ago | (#19463743)

I, for one, would like to see the tuatara version of a Lucy Liu-bot.

Re:Robot sex (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#19466187)

No, no, no! Haven't you seen the Public Information Films?

If people start dating robots, they won't feel the need to do bizarre and outrageous things in order to impress the opposite sex (or, in some cases, the same sex). As a result, human progress will come to an end, and society will stagnate!

Could become True Love (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19463479)

Unless Tuataras are more intelligent than swans , this might end something like this: Swan loves swan-shaped boat [n24.de] (article in german).

Obviously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19463569)

But what will happen if a female tuatara discovers that the robot is an impostor?

then she'll demand to see the real robot, duh.

Huh? (2, Funny)

edittard (805475) | more than 6 years ago | (#19463819)

The tuatara, which is both related to lizards and snakes
It's both related to them and what? Shares a house with them? Perhaps they all own a business?

WETA? (2, Insightful)

Domstersch (737775) | more than 6 years ago | (#19463873)

What's with the capitalization of the title? It's not like "WETA [wikipedia.org] " stands for anything.

Re:WETA? (1)

Agelmar (205181) | more than 6 years ago | (#19464089)

When I first read the title, I thought they meant WETA as in the PBS station in Washington, D.C. that is responsible for a good chunk of the nation's public tv programs. I too wondered why they put "Weta" from "Weta Workshops" in all caps.

Uncanny Valley Problem (1)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 6 years ago | (#19464129)

If they don't get it -just- right that robot is going to look freaky. Like some sort of zombie lizard... robot.

Re:Uncanny Valley Problem (1)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 6 years ago | (#19464909)

> Like some sort of zombie lizard... robot.

If they could somehow make it a ninja and/or a pirate, they could win at the Internet. (Without even playing!)

What'll happen? (1)

Odin's Raven (145278) | more than 6 years ago | (#19464621)

But what will happen if a female tuatara discovers that the robot is an impostor?"

She'll bite his nuts off. (Maybe a few of his bolts as well...)

bad opening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19466037)

"The tuatara, which is both related to lizards and snakes" .....

Even ignoring the bad grammar ("it" can't be "both" anything), lizards and snakes are related to one another. In fact, the skeletons of many snake species show vestigial limbs.

What's that buzzing sound? (2, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#19466857)

But what will happen if a female tuatara discovers that the robot is an impostor?

The same thing, I suspect, that happens with human females:
She'll be very satisfied, until the batteries die.

WETA is for software.. (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 6 years ago | (#19469817)

This seems like a odd union. WETA is a great company for massive parallel computing. Since when have they been in the hardware/robotics biz? Could see this being more appropriate if the had requested some kind of simulation software to be run, but not to create a robotic lizard.

To me this is like asking Oracle to make an iPoodle.

Re:WETA is for software.. (1)

burgess (6209) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470745)

clearly you haven't seen "Brain Dead" (fake sheep) or "Meet the Feebles" (fake muppets)

Re:WETA is for software.. (1)

michaelbirks (1115255) | more than 6 years ago | (#19499237)

The confusion here appears to be between Weta Digital and Weta Workshop.

Weta Digital [wetadigital.com] is the _digital_ effects house, with all the computer support that entails, however, it is actually the younger of the two companies.

Weta Workshop [wetaworkshop.co.nz] is a _physical_ effects shop and has always been into hardware and robotics/animatronics.

As another poster mentioned, Braindead [imdb.com] (Dead Alive in the US) and Meet the Feebles [imdb.com] predate the Digital side of the business and more recent films, like Black Sheep [imdb.com] , are more animatronic than CGI.

To Bring things back to topic, here's the page on Workshop's site: Ollie The Tuatara [wetaworkshop.co.nz]

What happens if the female discovers the Robot? (1)

wtansill (576643) | more than 6 years ago | (#19470713)

Data! Is that you? "I am fully functional and skilled in various methods of pleasuring"

I haven't read the article yet but... (3, Funny)

cgreuter (82182) | more than 6 years ago | (#19471579)

I just want to say that this is the coolest Slashdot headline I've seen in a while. All it needs is proper capitalization and punctuation:

WETA Working on Robotic Lizard FOR SCIENCE!!!!!!!111!!!!eleven!!!

And for best results, do a Magnus Pike impersonation when reading it.

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