Fortune Telling Robots in India

Feb 6, 2012 1 comments

Fortune Telling is a cultural phenomenon at all levels in the Indian society. Various types of fortune telling are popular with the urban and even the highly educated, and over the years it has taken a number of different forms – horoscopes, palm reading, parrots, tarot cards and recently robots.

Scattered across fairs, markets and streets, mostly in southern India, are fortune-telling robots. They come in a range of shapes and sizes. These plastic and fiberglass fortune-tellers are studded with garish LEDs, usually an analog clock embedded in their crotch, and sometimes a pair of voltmeters or ammeters, one in each breast. On the waist or hips are multiple headphone sockets. For only 5 rupees (10 cents) are so, you can plug a pair of worn out headphones into its metallic underpants and listen as it tells your fortune from prerecorded tapes.

We couldn’t find anyone who has actually listened to these robots, but we have one who has met and talked to one of the robot owners.

Every Sunday there is a guy with fortune telling robot on the place opposite of the main entrance of Russell market in Bangalore. Apparently (the guy does not really speak English) the robot is about 5 years old, was built by someone from ‘down south’ who also supplies the tapes with the fortunes on them. Against a small contribution the robot will tell fortunes in one of four 4 different languages (Hindi, Tamil, Kannada & Telgu) through headphones that are attached to its body.

I could not find out more about the function of the clock that is attached to the body of the robot. The owner just told me that it is a clock and ‘tells the time’ which makes it a truly multi purpose robot: telling both fortune and time)


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Photo credit: Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP


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More pictures in this Flickr pool.

[via Discover Magazine]


  1. can you please provide the details of the supplier of the robo.......
    i'd like to buy one.


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