People looking to make some easy money have long wanted to make their “inventions” the star of the show. However, robotics has a distinct position regarding fake technology demonstration. Robots rely on live demonstration, leading scammers to go to great lengths.
The first robotic butlers appeared in the early twentieth century. They were seen delivering lunch, tidying the house and even offering emotional support to lonely women. Technologists have been making a conscious attempt to make robots the real deal ever since. And many have even sought to take shortcuts.
The “robots” featured below were all just humans who moved in bizarre ways:
Rupert the Robot was invented by Albert Creuziger, a German inventor. The alleged robot performed at the Savoy hotel in London on January 12, 1938. During that period, Rupert was the star of the show. He could burn cigarettes, make a beverage and even take you on a ride. Rupert cost $US20,000 to build, which is more than $US400,000 when taking inflation into account.
Rupert wasn’t a robot, unfortunately; he was merely a well-dressed guy with a rigid look. This so-called real-deal robot was out to be a complete fraud.
“Roberta the Robot” is the second case of technological deception. In 1965, passers-by in New York City noticed a curious sight in the window of E.J. Korvette’s department store: a robot showing the latest products for sale. Customers could take a telephone and gather information about the things on display while “Roberta the robot” demonstrated them. But, sadly, Roberta was only a person masquerading as a robot.
Miss Honeywell is similar to Roberta. This blue robot was considered the “world’s first robotic woman.” The robot could perform a wide range of human chores. But, she was simply a robot-costumed human being.
In the video above, Miss Honeywell could be seen coming from a cabinet after an assistant connected her head and installed the appropriate electronics. When the operator flips certain switches on his monitor, Miss Honeywell comes to life. However, the fake robot is shown to move unusually.
Unfortunately, there are no statistics to illustrate how many victims were deceived by such scams in 1968. It’s difficult to imagine, given the tremendous technological breakthroughs of the late 1960s.
The list, however, does not end with Miss Honeywell. In 1934, a bizarre robot-like man called the “Tin Man” was seen in Streatham, South London. I don’t think I need to say much because the dumbfounded face speaks for itself. The con artist who created this bogus robot is unidentified. Although it is clearly a man dressed as a robot, it garnered the desired attention.
Lastly, during a Tesla event in 2021, Elon Musk debuted his robot prototype.
Musk stated, “The Tesla Bot will be real,” implying that a prototype might be ready by 2022.
Sad to say, numerous media outlets reported Musk’s assertions as fact, even going so far as to suggest that it will have the same sensors as a Tesla EV. Like many other fake robots, the Tesla humanoid robot is simply a human disguised as a robot. As we are already in the middle of 2022, we clearly do not see any robot prototype.