Imahara, co-host of Discovery Channel's "MythBusters" program, will present Craig Ferguson with his robot skeleton sidekick on Monday night's installment of his television show, "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson." For reasons that remain mysterious, Ferguson has dubbed the robot "Geoff Peterson." Even robot skeletons need names, it appears.
The robot will be made of plastic with a metal frame, and consists of power supplies, servo motors and switches, with LED indicators in its eyes. Imahara is a former animatronics engineer and model-maker known for his work on R2D2 and the Energizer Bunny.
After joining Twitter in February, Ferguson nicknamed his followers "the Robot Skeleton Army." Ferguson jested repeatedly about his army; on February 20, he wrote "Robot Skeleton Army over 100,000 strong. Celebratory cheesy puffs in the hollowed-out volcano. I decree a day of cartoons & snacks."
Imahara kicked off a campaign for the construction of a sidekick on March 1 with a tweet that read "@CraigyFerg I hear you are looking for a robot sidekick. I think I can help... for a price: get me 100,000 followers. If you can."
Once the followers were collected, the project kicked off in earnest. In an interview with NPR, Imhara said Craig's original concept was to have a little box on his desk with a bunch of buttons. "He would push a button, and then the sidekick would respond with a preprogrammed phrase, like, 'You're the man, Craig,' or 'That's awesome,'" he told the news organization.
The robot apparently delivers on Ferguson's wishes. Imhara told NPR that "he can say up to seven phrases ... you push a button and it repeats the phrase from the skeleton -- the skeleton has an on-board amplifier, and a sound board, and so it can play back the phrase. In addition, there is a microcontroller that I'll program with the synchronized movements. So it'll be a complete sidekick experience along with movement, and he can move his jaw, his eyes light up, his head turns, and he can raise one arm."
While it began as a joke in Ferguson's head, the robot skeleton seems to have taken on real legs. Let's hope it holds no harm for mankind.
Jeremy A. Kaplan is Science and Technology editor at FoxNews.com, where he heads up coverage of gadgets, the online world, space travel, nature, the environment, and more. Prior to joining Fox, he was executive editor of PC Magazine, co-host of the Fastest Geek competition, and a founding editor of GoodCleanTech.