If humankind were suddenly swallowed up by the sea, 100 years from now, a mob of robots will be waiting to take over. Unfortunately, they'll mostly play board games, brush each others' teeth and sit around waiting for the pizza delivery guy.
That's because geek-genius engineers are hard at work -- sacrificing true love, social skills and Saturday night Wii marathons -- to bring us robots who do nothing helpful at all.
We've rounded up the most wonderfully bad robot inventions of the past few years, from a bow-and-arrow-wielding automaton to one that plays a violin vibrato in D major.
Witness, for example, this robot with crazy eyes. He can solve a Rubiks Cube in under one minute, and he's not even autistic.
Do you ever go to the ballet and feel like there's something missing, but you can't put your finger on it? And then you take a sip of your imported gin with notes of coriander, and it hits you? There are no humanoid ballerinas dancing onstage! Well, fear not -- now, they totally exist. They are three feet tall, have 19 joints and dance to "Swan Lake."
Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Nottinghamshire, there lived a chivalrous robot who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. He traveled with a band of merry men, carried a bow and arrow and looked dashing in his man-tights. Crap! That's not how the story goes? Well, check out this robot archer, anyway, who is adorned with feathers and has exceptionally poor aim:
OK, OK. We'll admit this T-shirt-folding robot does serve a purpose, if you attend an Ivy League college or have a rigorous schedule with no time to do laundry. Or, say, if you are missing both arms.
And finally the Yo-Yo Ma of Robotville renders a violin performance that is so horrifyingly souless, it is probably set to repeat on Bernie Madoff's iPod.