The Zamboni driver is a hero. At the end of the period, he fires up his big machine, and he glides out there, sweeping away the shards of used ice and restoring the surface so the game can continue. He does it with a singular sense of purpose. He does it because he loves the game. Without him, there is no game. He is our friend, our neighbor. He is beloved.
But the robots don't care, because the robots don't feel. And the robots are coming for him.
A man in Winona, Minnesota, has invented a machine — a freaking robot — that will clean the ice surface faster and better than any Zamboni. From the Winona Daily News:
Buffalo County resident Paul Van Eijl said his invention, which he calls the “Ice Jet,” will do the ice resurfacing job of the classic machine much quicker — in about a minute or so — using GPS coordinates to control multiple machines at once.
It won’t need a driver, will be electrically powered and will recycle the ice collected by melting it in the machine and using the water to resurface the hockey rink. His invention isn’t on the market yet, though a prototype has been enough to generate a phone call from the reality television show “Shark Tank,” which highlights inventors and entrepreneurs hoping to make it big.
“It’s really doing the same thing (as a Zamboni),” Van Eijl said as he stood next to his prototype on a recent day. “You’re just basically making it eight times as efficient.”
Van Eijl understands that in order for his creation, his abomination, to succeed, it would have to exterminate the Zamboni driver. He is undeterred.
“The biggest challenge to the Ice Jet is the tradition of the ice resurfacing machine,” he wrote in his business plan. “The machine has been a staple of the game of hockey for over 60 years.”
And now his army of soulless robots plan to phase it out.
Can a robot wave to the kids as he sweeps the ice clean? Can he inspire songs like "I Wanna Drive the Zamboni"? Can he provide for a family?!
Certainly not. Robots are terrible fathers.
And yet, despite the robot's imminent threat to the nuclear family, nobody can see anything wrong with the invention. Even at the prototype stages, NHL teams, robotics companies, and engineers have all agreed that there's nothing in the design that would stop it from being the future of ice resurfacing.
“Looking at history here," Van Eijl said of his prototype.
Categorically FALSE. We're looking at the destruction of history.
And possibly humanity. I mean, have you seen I, Robot? This can only end in our enslavement.
- Technology & Electronics