Saturday, July 7, 2012

Musing on Robots in 2012

Most of my generation knows who Roise the maid is. Quite frankly, she's the dream of pretty much every housewife and guy who hates taking out the trash out there (enjoy my sexism). We've definitely made strides toward Rosie, though she, herself, is not a fixture in the average home... yet.
In case you don't know Rosie.

We have a smaller counterpart available in many households (that can afford to drop a couple hundred bucks for a fairly limited smart vacuum cleaner) and even have a choice. There's the Roomba, Mint, Neato and the HOM-BOT for top name brands. For floor washing, the Scooba, Mint Plus, Robomop and the 4-in-1 (what's its real name?) is available. Heck, there's even pool cleaners (too many to list) and gutter cleaner!

It ends up being more like the robotic teams from The Fifth Element more than Rosie.

One Roomba is more efficient, I think

In progress is an actual robot maid that can currently do laundry, use the microwave and most importantly: recognize tasks that need doing. Rosie is very close to being a reality. Many other domestic bots exist, from those that fold laundry to doing dishes to even grocery shopping.

There is also a short little helper robot who has a three-fingered hand on a flexible arm to allow it to pick up bottles to serve drinks. This robot response to voice and gestures:

The robotic age may be a little slower to advance than we'd expected in the 60's, but it might not be all that long before we actually get persocoms.

Especially when you look at how human robots have become with this android nurse:

She's a step up from this fella, huh?

I wouldn't have minded having him there to constantly wash my itchy legs after my cesarean
Some of the things that researchers are working on include dancing robots (because, clearly, we love the idea of robots dancing). It's somewhere between freaky and pants creaming awesome. Now, you would think that getting them to dance together would be pretty easy once they're programmed to dance, but apparently, synchronized dancing is not so simple. They ended up going with something called quorum sensing which allows living organisms to sense their own kind--where they are, what they're doing, etc. And they have succeeded.

In 2009, they came out with robots specifically designed to reason, think and be able to not only perform experiments, but perhaps come up with their own.

Medical robots make our lives more livable, from performing surgery to helping people with paralysis live a more normal life... using brainwaves to control them. They also help with rehab and getting back on your feet (or out of bed) (and may be available commercially as soon as 2013).

And the war where no one needs die (except the robots): Robotic soldiers are being improved all the time. Right now, we seem to be most interested in how many ways we can make them exercise, it's amazing (and terrifying, should the list of robots here be combined) how much these robots can do (and how complex such simple things as climbing stairs are to perform).

Personally, while there is a website devoted to cool robots (follow that link for a ton of awesome robots), my favorite is probably ASIMO. This adorable, child sized (and voiced) robot would be quite welcome in my house! I know he's old hat, but he reminds me of two of my favorite things from childhood: robot toys and astronauts. Also, despite having been around for a while (as far as robots go), he still demonstrates some of the biggest advancements in robotic mobility.

So, there you have it. Advancements from my humor post on hungry robots in 2009 and a small sampling of the awesome and terrifying ways robots are improving (and potentially threatening) our lives.

At least no one's built Skynet. Oh, wait, the UK did. F---

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep it civil and remember that my blog is not for debate. I have friends in all walks of life, so don't assume anything from individual posts! I do enjoy hearing from you, though :)