Robots: A Fiction That Became Reality

Photo Credit Ryan Etter
via http://news.vanderbilt.edu/
Photo Credit Ryan Etter via http://news.vanderbilt.edu/

The Terminator series, Robocop, iRobot are some of the top performing robot movies, while there is an endless list of movies which have portrayed robots in both positive and negative characters. Some portrayed them in full metallic body, other as human lookalike with metallic skeletons. All these movies are fiction and human imagination about the robots and the debate about “What is a Robot?” is still going on as many researchers have different concepts to define the term.

Some researchers use this term to refer to physical robots, while others argument that virtual software agents (also called bots) should also be included in this category. After many years of debate, the general conclusion they came up with is “the term ‘Robot’ refers to machines, mechanical or virtual artificial agents, which are electronically programmed to perform some physical task”. Research in ‘robotics’ is not new and many scientists have spent their lives in research and development of this field. Some new trends on which researchers are currently working are listed here to show some of the achievements and hard work of the researchers.

Spot the Dog

Boston Dynamics, a Google-owned robotics company, has recently launched its new robotic bot named ‘Spot’. This four-legged bot is capable of climbing stairs, run on rough terrain and can navigate through patches of trees.

Boston Dynamics: Spot the Dog

Boston Dynamics: Spot the Dog

Chatty Machines

Researchers of Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA) are working on a project whose aim is to remove the language barrier between humans and machines. The idea behind this project, dubbed Communicating with Computers (CwC) is to enable computers to express themselves through spoken language, facial expression and gestures.

chatty machines

Chatty Machines

 

Robot at your service

A theme park in Nagasaki, Japan, is planning to open a hotel “The Henn-na Hotel” which will be partially staffed by androids. These androids will work as reception attendants, waiters, cleaning staff and other attendants.

The Henn-na Hotel

Robots at The Henn-na Hotel

Bio-inspired Robots

This is a whole new sub-category of robotics. The concept behind this category is to make more effective mechanisms that can learn from nature. Spot – the project of Boston Dynamics also belongs to this sub-category.

Bio Robotics: Wikimedia Commons

Bio Robotics: Wikimedia Commons

Soft Robots

This is an extension of the branch of robotics named biomimicry. Biomimicry is different from bio-inspired as it is about copying the nature instead of learning from it. When one thinks about a ‘Robot’ the next thing that comes in mind is ‘hardness’. As its name suggests, soft robots are a new kind of robotic systems that are soft and can mold themselves in different shapes. One of the project of Soft robotics is under development in Purdue University where researchers are working on the idea of mass-production of circuits that are made up of liquidmetal alloys.

Robots helping doctors in operations or a totally automatic driverless car that were considered fiction of human imagination a few decades ago are already the reality today. With the rapid evolution of technology and rigorous efforts of research, soon many more robotic dreams will become a reality.

biomimicry

Biomimicry.net

1 Comment

  • TommyVercetti says:

    Robots in the strictest sense have been around since the early 1300s in the form of mechanical clockwork contraptions that entertained wealthy patrons and did mundane stuff like that moving doll that wrote a single chinese character on paper. In short, the concept of the robot has been around far longer than when Capek coined the term or when Asimov popularized it. With that said, I think this is a natural progression in our technology, and it’s yielding a lot of interesting results.

Leave a Reply to TommyVercetti Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *