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Prankophone ushers in age of robo-prank calls (Tomorrow Daily 273)

Jeff discusses a robot that makes unique prank calls, a special graphene paper that can transform when exposed to infrared heat and a world record broken by a cute Chinese robot.

Russian artist Dmitry Morozov is the man behind the Prankophone, a strange contraption with a simple goal: to make prank calls to unsuspecting recipients using an algorithm that creates a robotic "song" to play. The song sounds like a lot of bleeps and bloops and other weird tones, but the song itself is unique to the number called, since the algorithm uses the tones from the number dialed to create the melody.

Graphene is a material you may have heard of before, but this week, Chinese researchers showed off a graphene-oxide paper that can walk, fold, and even turn with the help of heat. When infrared lasers are applied to the paper's surface, it contracts and transforms based on the shape of the paper and the intended action. When the lasers are removed, the paper expands and relaxes into its standard flat position.

Lastly, a Chinese robot recently broke a world record. "Walker No. 1" might look like a cute little robot with basic functionality, but it completed over 1,400 laps on an indoor track to capture the Guinness World Record for longest distance covered by a four-legged robot on a single charge. In total, the robot walked over 80 miles, and obliterated the previous world record by almost double the distance trekked.

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