Saturday, October 2, 2010

We, Robot: What Real-Life Machines Can And Can’t Do

Photo: A lot of us teach ourselves how to reason, how to think, how to analyze new information....This has been very difficult for robots to be able to do.

From Science News:

As director of the Maryland Robotics Center, Satyandra Gupta oversees 25 faculty members working on all things robotic: snake-inspired robots, robotic swarms, minirobots for medicine and robots for exploring extreme environments on land, under the sea and in outer space. In September the Center hosted its first Robotics Day; afterward, Gupta talked robots with Science News writer Rachel Ehrenberg.

How do robots influence our lives today?

There are certain scenarios, such as manufacturing — making cars, making airplanes — where people are replacing human labor with robotic devices and the rationale is usually that it is less expensive, quality is consistent, that kind of thing. Then there are certain applications where very few humans can do the task because the skills required are so high…. Surgery would be an example. Let’s imagine that there’s a very hard-to-perform surgery that very few humans can do. Now if a robot can be trained or even teleoperated by these surgeons, then you would be able to get that performance from that robot.

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