They swim and fly, they skip and jump, they like to pick wild flowers...
Seriously though, this is all my worst nightmares come true. Amphibious, skin-changing, lightbulb-unscrewing robot penguins from Britain. Look at 'em, flying around all pretty in their antigrav fields like some avian led zeppelins. I'm watching you, penguins...
Actually, biomimetics, or the modelling of human creation after nature, is a fascinating shortcut to building a better robot. Even Asimov never broke out of the idea that robots would look like us, but how well suited are we really for climbing, running, flying, or pretty much any athletic activity at all? Why use a human as a model at all, or worse yet, start from scratch with calculations of how to make something move efficiently when you can study snakes, cockroaches, and, most disgustingly, worms to see what makes them go?
It's an exercise in humility: not only humans are poorly designed ourselves, but we can't design anything better than what evolution has given us. We seem to be getting better at being mockingbirds though, the grace of the bionic penguins' wings is pretty incredible. Nice job, guys.
Oh, and if you didn't get the title:
(skip to about 2:20)
2 weeks ago