Click visits 500 Years of Robots at the Science Museum in London. Plus how Cuba is getting online and top tech for cats.
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In a moment we'll have Newswatch, but first, here's Click.
Few things say the future better than robots.
We seem to be in an era of massive advances at the moment.
This week, a leaked video from Boston Dynamics shows
off its latest machine, called Handle, something its founder
Rolling on with the wheel theme, Piaggio, known for its Vespa
motorcycles, has revealed a new robot servant called Gita.
This robo-suitcase follows its owner's every move,
using cameras in its body and in the user's belt.
But sometimes it's good to look at where we've come from.
The Robots Exhibition at London's Science Museum
is a 500-year history of humanity's attempts to create robots that
There are more than 100 robots here, including some old friends that
And this amazing swan, made from silver, is all the more
incredible because it was made over 200 years ago, in 1773.
If you accept that these clockwork creations are indeed robots,
then you can also argue that the earliest robots were clocks.
It was these mechanical marvels that made the Industrial Revolution
possible, mobilising hundreds of workers to be at the same place
at the same time, enabling goods to be transported,
trains to run accurately, and allowing industry to become
The Industrial Revolution was also the catalyst for massive social
change across the world, bringing about the rise
of the working class, and sparking ideas like capitalism and Marxism.
Now, in the West, Cuba found itself at the epicentre of this shift.
It was the poster child for communism in the West,
right in the back garden of the US, the heart of capitalism.
Richard Taylor has been to Cuba to see how the island is now moving
The iconic images are strikingly familiar.
Cuba today still feels in some ways otherworldly,
Life for most of its 11 million citizens is simple.
They've been living in a state-enforced digital wilderness.
A decade ago, you needed a permit just to buy a PC.
Today, if you're lucky enough to own a smartphone,
There's no mobile data, so Cuban apps are designed to work
Until recently, even basic internet access could only be found
at desktop computers inside state communication centres.
Long queues persist but now people are coming to buy internet
scratchcards which can finally get them online elsewhere.
In this Havana park, small gatherings of Cubans
But getting online is slow, unreliable and,
Luis Rondon Paz is a self-proclaimed hack-tivist, and as a former
government IT administrator, knows the system well.
Everything in Cuba is restricted, filtered, as the rest of the world.
Basically, they censor everything that might
It might be porn, gay, or political things.
But the biggest barrier for locals - the price.
A single hour of full web access costs $2,
The government says expanding the internet is a priority
and central Havana is now conducting trials of in-home net access
And it boasts of a growing number of public wifi hotspots,
too, around 300 in total, and growing.
Still, not exactly blanket coverage for a country 700 miles wide.
Cuba blames its ageing communications network
on the six-decade-old trade embargo with the US.
Critics say that's a convenient excuse for a communist state that
fears losing control over information.
Relations with America are now at best uncertain
In the aftermath of the President's historic visit here two years ago,
prospects for American companies doing digital business
Company boss Eric Schmidt inking a deal in December that gives Cubans
fast access to content from services like YouTube and Gmail.
The thing is, when you're running an internet-based business,
the last thing you want to do is traipse across town
So some Cubans who are fed up with the government strategy
on access have come up with their own rather inventive solutions.
The results are found on rooftops in towns and cities
across the nation, in the form of pole-mounted antennaes
which are pointed towards the local communications centre,
giving them internet access and even wifi.
The practice isn't exactly legal, but as I discovered that minor
detail doesn't deter Cubans from getting their information fix.
This is the paquete semanal, literally the weekly packet.
It refers to a highly organised service in back streets and front
rooms across the country, giving locals content downloaded
often only hours earlier via satellite.
There's pirated movies, news shows, documentaries,
It's hugely popular with customers who can fill their USB drives
with an entire terabyte, hundreds of hours, for the price
And the rise of the paquete is the price the Cuban regime itself
is paying, a reaction to the state dogma of keeping
Cuban authorities should be less afraid of the free flow
of information because the need for information functions
People need information and people will get information,
no matter if you are going to provide it or not.
There's a political need to understand differently
Progress is undoubtedly too slow for many Cubans.
But recent overtures do at least give some people
Ever wondered what cats get up to when no one's there?
Meet Roxy and Zara, who seemed agreeable to taking part
If you've ever wanted to watch, talk to or even play with your cats
when you're not with them, then this could help.
Once the device is connected to your home wifi, you can login
anywhere you can get your phone online.
There's a laser game to play, snacks at the tap of an icon,
and a function to proudly make and share videos and cat snaps.
This rather unusual looking setup works in quite a similar way.
This smart collar has been around a little while now and is available
It allows owners to keep an eye on temperature,
pulse, breathing rate, heart rate variability and even
the positions a pet is in, so could be particularly beneficial
if there are health concerns or an injury to keep an eye on.
Meanwhile, there seems to be a game of cat and mouse going on here,
the latter played by a remote control rodent.
Although it actually consists of the cat being chased
by the mouse, which probably says it all about my day's filming.
That was Lara, and this is Maria, the first blockbuster robot
from the ground-breaking 1927 film Metropolis.
The visual effects in that movie were absolutely stunning,
given that it is actually 90 years old.
Next, we are going to continue our look at some of the visual effects
behind the latest blockbuster movies.
We have Adam Valdes, BAFTA and Oscar nominee,
to tell us more about the visual effects he used to bring back
Every time you see the world in Jungle Book, someone has
fabricated plants, trees, the dead twigs and leaves
And it's only really when the surrounds around him
makes him feel present within it that the magic
trick comes off, that you believe that this is just a photograph,
So we take a shot like Mowgli saying goodbye to his mother and we say,
John really wants some sort of physical contact.
It needs to be an intimate moment, their eyes need to be locked
We can't have a feeling that he's acting to a tennis ball,
We really need to feel the scene emotionally.
You can locate the positions of his hands, the puppet
And we can track it really carefully in three dimensions
That way we make sure the contact is correct,
and then we simulate the fur on the mother's neck.
And we actually replace the better part of his hand with the digital
double of his hand, so that the CG hand and the CG fur of the mother
wolf are actually in the computer together,
and when we put our lighting on that and create the final images,
The magic trick is blending the hand into his arm.
The render power required to generate a movie like this,
I think it was 240 million renderer hours, or something like that.
Which means if it was one computer it would have taken 3000 years,
These individual frames that you see can be 40,
50, 60 hours on a computer just rendering one frame.
We'll see more and more imagery where we really start to not
be able to tell the difference between something that's
That was Adam Valdes on the magic behind the Jungle Book.
And that's it for the shortcut of Click and the robots at the London
museum. I'll put a load of photos up
on Twitter for you to browse The full version of Click is up on
iPlayer for you to view whenever you fancy.