Hard to Miss Design In RoboBoy

Matt Slagle, a technology staff writer for the Associated Press, wrote an article titled “Robot Maker Builds Artificial Boy” (2007). In the article, Slagle reported on cutting-edge robotic engineering done by David Hanson, owner of Hanson Robotics. Hanson and his company of engineers have been working on Zeno, a 17-inch-tall, six-pound roboboy for five years. They have spent hundreds of man-hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars on Zeno.

What do they have to show for their efforts? Little Zeno has a face covered with a patented rubbery, skin-like substance Hanson calls frubber. Zeno can learn to recognize a face and associate it with the name of a person. Hanson comments that, due to these abilities, Zeno “can build a relationship with you” (as quoted in Slagle, 2007). Zeno is attached to a wireless computer that can tell him “how to frown, act surprised, or wrinkle its nose in anger” (2007). Hanson hopes to market thousands of Zenos in the years to come, at a cost of $200 to $300 each.

Slagle also mentioned another boy named Zeno. Hanson’s 18-month-old toddler has the same name as the robot. The article says that baby Zeno is a “rambunctious toddler who frolics with free rein among priceless electronics” (2007). Baby Zeno has self-repairing skin that is well-designed to let heat and waste out, or to conserve heat as needed. Baby Zeno needs no wireless computer to tell him how to frown, smile, or laugh. His body produces energy from such everyday items as green beans or sweet potatoes—no battery needed. His eyes see, his nose smells, his stomach digests, his feet run, and his hands feel and grab. He is a boy, just a regular boy. But he is lightyears ahead of what robo-Zeno will ever be.

Zeno the robot is the culmination of five years of intelligent design and engineering. Yet the toddler Zeno is much more advanced in every significant way. If we asked an evolutionary scientist if robo-Zeno was designed, no doubt he would respond in the affirmative? But if we ask him if baby Zeno exhibits intelligent design, how would he respond? No?

It is amazing that design is so easy to recognize in both robots and humans, but so often missed by evolutionary scientists when they study humans. In truth, every human is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Each human being testifies loudly to the conclusive fact that there is a God in heaven.


Slagle, Matt (2007), “Robot Maker Builds Artificial Boy,” [On-line], URL:;_ylt=Akjd5h 1ia0Ou5Id.iunSns.s0NUE.


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