Cyborg night: Robot will turn on Downtown Christmas lights

Friends, Brooklynites, countrymen, lend me your gears.

A robot named Caesar — or cellularly accessible expressive semi-autonomous robot — is going to help Santa spread Christmas cheer at the 25th annual tree lighting at MetroTech Commons Downtown on Dec. 1. The electronic emperor, which stands 40-inches tall, is going to press a button on St. Nick’s stomach that will activate the lights. But Caesar’s primary job will be getting spectators young and old, naughty and nice into the holiday spirit, according to one of his creators.

“His main goal is to stand there and smile at onlookers, to wave his arms, and do other small facial expressions,” said Jared Alan Frank, a doctoral student at New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering and the principle investigator of the project. “Caesar will be very animated on stage.”

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