The shore for ponderous ripples…

An anthropomorphic robot, Ralph!

In a laboratory in Sabanci University, SURALP was getting ready to be raised as Turkey’s first dynamically walking humanoid robot. The year was 2009. By the next year, he was a hero. Enthusiasts could not refrain from praising the marvel. Reporters were recording its dynamics with fervor equivalent to that when recording Shakira. At some other longitude, the intersection of meager latitude gave a point where Kobian was mimicking emotions.

A lot of times, an inquisitive finds a problem and thinks of a solution. However, there may not be enough means to realize that thought. Someone else at some other point on this earth may get the same idea and earn praise. It happens. Uma thought so. She was just a website designer in New Jersey. She visualized the wackiest websites, chalked them out but never had takers. Stereotyped stuff was promoted all around her. People went after classic styles rather than experimenting with rookies. Uma’s land-lady, Mrs. Brown was a mother of two. Mrs. Brown loved Uma and let her stay with them sans charges. Uma only had to clean the house. She got close to the toddlers and volunteered to reach them school and bring them back. In their varied scribbly drawings, she found her own wings.

A year had passed. Mrs. Brown was suffering with a deadly disease. Uma was taking care of the entire house. She could now spend a big chunk of time with her dreamy creations. She was googling for something when she came across an article about robots. And the idea didn’t take long to settle in her. Mrs. Brown had six months or less to live. Uma started her work. She researched. Read seven dozen books on anthropomorphic robots. With all the resources of Mrs. Brown at her disposal, she grabbed a quiet corner room in the house. Undoubtedly, she couldn’t have CERN secrets at her disposal. But she moved ahead from the same basic theories everyone else is taught in engineering. She consulted her friends from other disciplines under the garb of trying to get “just an idea”.

Mrs. Brown had responded well to the cancer treatment having survived a year and a month now. But suddenly, her health had started deteriorating rapidly. The last chemo-therapy brought her back as a living corpse. Uma knew she didn’t have much time. She had created a humanoid like SURALP. She had studied REEM and Asimo with the most scrutinizing eyes. She had put all her time into the endeavor. Her job was gone. Her visa was going to expire. She knew she would be deported to India. This was all she could do for her family here. The small little family she had formed in New Jersey. She will have to leave them. She never wanted to. At the same time, she did not want the kids to miss her when she is gone. So she did not give her voice to the structure. She gave it a male voice and structure.

Uma’s visa was to expire on June 5th, 2012. Mrs. Brown breathed her last on June 2nd, 2012. Uma introduced the kids to Ralph on the 3rd as their caretaker. This man was serious. He seldom gave expressions. But when he did, they could be noticed without a doubt. Uma was a bit worried. But she had tested its proprioceptive sensors, exteroceptive sensors and actuators repeatedly. Ralph’s navigation control was freaking good. He did unmistakable face and speech recognition. Uma was sure this robot could not actually have emotions but her algorithms would apparently show some. Well, Ralph did well pretty good in following two days.

On the 5th, she pulled her luggage and waved them all a goodbye. Ralph had a stiff grip and the stern look but he knew what is to be done till the end of the month. Uma just prayed everything to go well. She had thought she would manage to get her visa again and return in a month. It has been five months since. She has been in constant touch with the three of them through the phone and internet. Today, it is the 11th of October. The world maybe celebrating TOPIO’s ping-pong or Nao’s soccer. But she is back to the family she left. What better sight than this to welcome her home.

Ralph and the kids

Ralph with the kids

“In response to the Weekly Writing Challenge. at

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