Monday, November 26, 2007

Maid Without Tears (1978)

Matt Chapman, co-creator of Homestar Runner, sent me this great image from the 1978 book Exploring the World of Robots.

While I've never had a maid, I didn't know that they were always on the verge of crying! As Matt notes, "the 'Maid Without Tears' does not appear to have been made without cords as she has two of them coming out of her, dragging dangerously on the ground." Text from the image appears below.

Stay tuned, because I've found some great newspaper articles about the "Quasar, robot of the future." With headlines like, "Take out your trash, laugh at your jokes," and "R2D2? You ain't seen nothin' yet!" just scratch the paleo-futuristic surface.
Today we have many different gadgets in our homes. They make housework and gardening easier. In [the] future we may have robot servants to do all the jobs in the home.

In charge of tomorrow's servants will be a robot brain. It will run the house. It will control other machines electronically. The brain will work vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, washing machines, food mixers, automatic cookers and other gadgets.

We will be able to give the brain its orders, telling it what jobs to do and when to do them. If we forget to mow the lawn, the robot brain will remind us. Then we can tell the robot to get on with the job.

There may be walking robots to do the dusting, and to lay and clear the table. The robots in the picture are real. One is called Quasar. Quasar can vacuum carpets, mow lawns, carry trays of food, and even take the dog for a walk! At the door is another robot, called the Maid Without Tears.

One day people may not go out to work at all. They will work from home, using television and robots. The robot brain will suggest meals for the day. It will order our shopping, finding out from other robots in the local shops where the best buys are. The goods will be packed and delivered to our home by robots.

See also:
Robots: The World of the Future (1979)
Living Room of the Future (1979)
In a Cashless Future, Robots Will Cook (1996)
Closer Than We Think! Robot Housemaid (1959)
The Electronic Brain Made Beef Stew (1959)
The Future of Personal Robots (1986)


Anonymous said...

The "Maid Without Tears" looks awfully similar to this "robot".

Nancy Toby said...

I like their skirts. Even in 1978 if you did housework, you naturally had to have a feminine side, right?

Anonymous said...

And of course, they'll want some other invention, such as balanced food pills, to help so that we don't all become obese while sitting there doing nothing but watching television all day.

Britt said...

And in the foreground, an upright Roomba!

dani, the geek said...

hmmm... the cords are clearly designed to be removed once charging and programming are complete, right?

dani 8-)

ecnahC-ynnoJ said...

The omission of "the" before future reminds me of early 90s talk about internet.

The line "If we forget to mow the lawn, the robot brain will remind us. Then we can tell the robot to get on with the job." is really too perfect!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I want to live in the world that picture is talking about, sort of scary to me. Not so much the "robots do everything" or even the robots rule the world thing, but the "never leave your home" part. I love the robot lawn mower we have, and even the scuba (or whatever) that does our tiled floor. But what happens when Halo 4 comes out and I can't go to the local store to buy it? Well that's no good. I don't want a robot ordering it and then 2-3 days for delivery. :-D

Unknown said...

I looked up what I could find online about the Quasar robot. It was a slightly notorious hoax of the late 1970s that, interestingly, led to one of the first serious discussions about freedom of speech, defamation and liability on ARPANET (the seed of the Internet).

I can't wait to see the newspaper articles!

Anonymous said...

Hey! I have that book! I loved it when I was a kid. My favorite part of this particular page was "The robots in the picture are real." ;)

Anonymous said...

Why is the television set so small?

Forget maids - you know what the first robots will really be designed for (think Westworld).