Future robots: capable of thinking, reasoning; even falling in love

March 18 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 19

By Dick Pelletier

Humans have always been fascinated by robots, a fascination fueled in part by science-fiction renderings of such characters as R2D2, C3PO, HAL, The Terminator, and Data.

However, a world run by robots is no longer science-fiction. Today, robotic systems work on assembly lines; clean floors; monitor kids; help the disabled; explore Mars; and assist in our security.

IRobot CEO, Rodney Brooks says the robotics industry is undergoing huge changes with major focus now on personal robots. Industry consultant Dr. Joanne Pransky agrees. In 10 years, Pransky expects to purchase a robot that can clean house, prepare and serve meals, and help her become more efficient with tomorrow’s technologies.

Much impetus for robot development comes from Japan, where demographic trends and labor costs have created a growing market for machines that replace humans. Hitachi’s EMIEW can perform any number of factory and office jobs.

“Hold on”, say opponents. Though robots perform many mundane and physical jobs that humans don’t want, the net result is that millions become unemployed. Seegrid chief scientist, Hans Moravec agrees that future robotic development could be disruptive to the economy.

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Govt Commissions LANdroids for Battle Communication

March 11 2008 / by Venessa Posavec / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2008   Rating: 5

You may know DARPA as the government agency responsible for developing thought-controlled prosthetics, autonomous vehicles, and a slew of other innovative technologies for use by the military. In a match made in heaven, they’ve teamed up with iRobot Corp, the designers of consumer robotics like the Roomba vacuum cleaner, to create a mobile communications robot for the U.S. Military.

With prototypes expected by the end of the year, these ‘LANdroids” (Local Area Network droids) are intended to keep communication channels open for soldiers on urban battlefields. They’ll have the built-in smarts to reposition themselves and catch the strongest signals, while avoiding obstacles and navigating various terrains. And, at a $100 a piece price point, they’re expendable should they happen to enter an enemy’s line of fire.

In addition to keeping our troops in contact with one another in patchy network areas, the technology may also have some practical purposes in non-combat situations. For instance, they might enable robotic farming equipment to coordinate over longer distances, serve to automatically patch a busted wi-fi zone in an office building, or reconfigure themselves to best supply network coverage at large events like concerts or protests.

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