One of the oldest concepts in the human imagination, the notion of a ‘robot’, in concept if not name, has existed nearly as long as human civilization itself. How old? There is an instance in Greek mythology of the god Hephaestus, or ‘Vulcan’ to all you ancient Romans, building ‘mechanical servants’.

On the modern religious side, there are the animate clay men ‘Golems’, not to be confused with Tolkien’s Gollum, of the Jewish tradition.

This theme of robot slaves – later servants, later ‘helpers’, as modern, progressive thinking slowly crept out of the shadows to become the dominant paradigm called a Personal Assistant. Persisted  and developed over time,  particularly through the surprisingly long history of the science fiction genre, developing and changing over the decades and centuries.

A Robot as a Personal Assistant

Personal Assistant

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But staying essentially the same, many a boy and girl, later men and women influenced by youthful media intake, dreaming about having a robot of their very own. Something that has only really become tenable in the 21stcentury, at least on the commercial level.

From the Roomba vacuuming robot that look suspiciously like those little surveillance rovers running about in the Star Wars universe, to robot pets on the cuter end of the spectrum to Asimo on the oh-my-gosh-look-at-that! end of things,  there are more usable robots than ever before.

While not quite as jaw-dropping as these examples of modern scientific miracles, there has recently come into existence the closest thing many of us may ever get to a robotic personal  assistant. Say hello to PLEN the world’s first Portable Personal Assistant Robot.

Power Cube 

While not of the traditional, humanoid designs, the PLEN comes on a neat, sleek, little box, a good half of which can be made to look as though it is made out of lovely, varnished wood. Yes, wood, that stuff that trees are made out of.

The other half is the unmitigated world of tomorrow future device, that would not look out of place on the Star ship Enterprise.

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Post 1960s in any case. As with all current tech, the cube itself is also tiny, able to go, more or less comfortably into almost any bag, briefcase or backpack or even most coat or jacket pockets. Not recommended for carrying in a pants pocket.

How it works 

A new twist on the theme kicked off with the creation of the smartphone, the PLEN is meant to consolidate all one’s devices in a handy, pretty little package that can be carried about.

It is outfitted with a ‘smart camera’ can take pictures the boring old fashioned way and also, for those not freaked out by 2001thisneat, potentially creepy, little device can find and track your face and motions.

Yes, the top part, with the camera, actually follow you around as you move. It can also be customized to your specific needs with custom options including a music player, recording and playback capabilities, reminder sand notifications, weather reports and the like.

The only thing that could make the effect even more powerful would be to add R2D2 tweets and whistles.

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Trevor McNeil spent much of his childhood playing video-games on early-form personal computers back when the disks were literally floppy. He attended the University of Victoria, completing a degree in Social Science with a concentration in Technology In Society, while also writing for the campus newspaper. He has written articles for such diverse publications as Humanity Death Watch, PopMatters and Perfect Sound Forever. He is a veteran of numerous “watershed moments” in the history of technological development and firmly believes that Han shot first.