Robot Actress in Tokyo Steals Show (Reuters): Video of the Day
Reuters reports on a Japanese stage play, Sayonara in which a robot caretaker of an ill woman is actually played by a robot (or more accurately by an android, since the machine is made to look human).
Another, print, report is here. The android is named Gemini-F. The director, Oriza Hirata, says that the android is not intended to replace human actors, but that a new category of actors is now emerging, a mixture of human and machine.
http://www.juancole.com/2010/11/robot-a ... e-day.html
So that's an example of fabricating humans; how about the setting/environment?
One of the most notorious perp institutions, Texas A&M University, runs Disaster City, a realistic training ground for handling emergencies - and the article even mentions their use of robots! Not only that, they offer a course on Advanced Structural Collapse. (What a surprise.)
Rescue Workers Train in the Disneyland of Terror
Emergency workers from around the world receive training in "Disaster City," a Texas ghost town made up of derelict buildings, wreckage and debris. They learn how to deal with major fires, earthquakes, floods and terrorist attacks.
The Japanese delegation seems mesmerized by the sweating firefighters hanging from ropes in front of a building, as they saw holes into the walls. It's noon in College Station, Texas. The sun is directly overhead, and the air is hot, humid and still.
A US military Black Hawk helicopter is circling in the sky above the Japanese group. Plumes of smoke rise into the air in the distance, past collapsed houses, piles of rubble and the remains of a derailed Amtrak train. The smoke is coming from buildings and wrecked planes filled with straw.
"Disaster City," a bizarre ghost town the size of 30 football fields, where wrecks and ruins are carefully prepared and presented so that soldiers, firefighters and emergency responders from around the world can simulate every conceivable disaster scenario: earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, fires, gas explosions, attacks with chemical or biological weapons, and terrorist attacks.
Disaster City is also an open-air laboratory for the scientific community. Engineers from nearby Texas A&M University regularly use the site to test the instruments, sensors and robots they have developed.
Part of the concept of the ghost town is that the staged disasters should feel as real as possible, which explains the children's toys, bicycles, office chairs, odd pair of shoes and mutilated mannequins scattered among the wreckage and ruins of concrete, steel and wood.
Phillips, a powerfully built Englishman with a shaved head, is here for the second time. This time he is attending a course called "Advanced Structural Collapse 5." He wants to practice cutting his way through steel-reinforced concrete walls in collapsing buildings without "being sliced in two," as he calls it, by the force of a bursting steel rod.
the man who invented Disaster City. George Kemble Bennett, 70, heads the engineering department at Texas A&M University, and he is a member of virtually every committee involved in questions of national security. He is the director of the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center and the founder of Texas Task Force 1, an elite rescue team. A photo hanging on the wall in his enormous office shows Bennett pointing the way for former President George W. Bush.
"But when it comes to terrorism, to exploding buildings, massive pieces of concrete and steel wreckage and massive numbers of victims -- how do you prepare people for something like that?" [Bennett] asks. "Our emergency responders are being asked to do more and more, and before Disaster City there was no place that offered the possibility of training them for that."
When Ken Knight, London's fire commissioner at the time, stepped in front of the TV cameras after the July 2005 bombings, he said that training in Disaster City had helped his people react correctly to the attack.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/spi ... 57,00.html
It certainly wouldn't be hard for them to fabricate the streets/buildings of Lower Manhattan.