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Top 5 Robotics Trends of 2011

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Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Tracking luggage?
Alexander Wolfe   12/9/2011 11:33:02 AM
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There definitely is a marketing impediment to consumer robot uptake, along the lines of "What can these things actually do?" With the Roomba, it's not clear that this can vacuum your floors better than a normal vacuum. With Honda's Asimo, it's a curiousity. With the Japanese humanoid robots, well, the less said the better. I think it's going to take a robotics industry Steve Jobs to "create" a need for these things. Maybe Heather Knight is that person.

Charles Murray
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Re: Tracking luggage?
Charles Murray   12/8/2011 8:54:05 PM
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Ann, I'm seeing more commercials for home robots. For example, Swiffer is running a commercial for a robot that wipes your floors with a cleaning cloth. Are we actually seeing more of these? 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Tracking luggage?
Rob Spiegel   12/8/2011 1:04:40 PM
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I'd love to see how the robots pull luggage. Since luggage comes is so many shapes it seem the robot would have to be very flexible. There there's the question of whether the robot might damage the luggage. Also, I would imagine the robot would need to identify the bags. Perhaps they use RFID so that line-of-sight is not a problem.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Tracking luggage?
Ann R. Thryft   12/8/2011 12:30:17 PM
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Thanks, Rob. Right now, we may all have to go to the Amsterdam airport if we want our luggage tracked correctly! Kidding aside, I, too, was surprised, in fact dumfounded, that such an enormous system works at all, regardless of it's underpinnings. And I was even more surprised that it's done with robotics. Part of the fun in investigating this area is that the technology is much more advanced than I realized. I don't think we're quite yet to the point of a War with the Machines (Terminator? Frank Herbert? Dan Simmons' AI net?), but progress in robotics is certainly proceeding apace.

 


Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Bifurcation?
Ann R. Thryft   12/8/2011 12:29:35 PM
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The crossover I had in mind was not making industrial robots cuter or more human-looking--and I agree, Beth, a cute-looking ET-like prison guard sounds like a very scary idea.

What I do think possible is that some of the movement emulation work described in #5 could be used to influence how consumer robots move, making them even more human, and could also be used in surgical robots (larger than the one described in this article), which require extraordinary precision (if it's not already). At the same time, some work like this (motion emulation) may have already been done in surgical robots which might then translate back insto consumer robots.


Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Progress
Alexander Wolfe   12/8/2011 10:43:12 AM
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The canonical example of robots run amok (that sounds like a title for a Star Trek episode) was what happened at GM under Roger Smith when they were first implemented. Of course, that's a period in the U.S. auto industry that everyone would rather forget (paging Chevy Vega). As you say, jhankwitz, things have thankfully progressed a great deal. The interesting development now is that we have solid tech progress simultaneously on TWO robotics fronts: industrial, which is relatively mature, and the newer consumer oriented robotics, like Roomba and the Japanese attempts to create humanoid-looking machines (to which I say, ick).

 

jhankwitz
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Progress
jhankwitz   12/8/2011 9:24:19 AM
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I was involve with ASEA Robotics way back in the late 70's.  Their primary focus was getting auto manufacturers up and running with them.  Their biggest problem was that the robots demanded far less variation between parts being assembled, which got them involved with advancing vision technology to compensate for some variation.  It's amazing how this industry has expanded and progressed over the years.

phonesystems
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Robotics Trends
phonesystems   12/8/2011 6:29:29 AM
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There is truly a big explosion of experimentation in technology and everybody is putting whole of there knowledge and creativity in making some best Robots.

Efm

Charles Murray
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Re: Bifurcation?
Charles Murray   12/7/2011 10:53:59 PM
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Ann, I think there is a small amount of crossover starting to happen. One example: The VGo robot, from VGo Communications, which plays a mildly human role but does not have any human attributes. VGo Communications said that they deliberately used a non-human form, so it "wouldn't be intimidating."

Rob Spiegel
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Tracking luggage?
Rob Spiegel   12/7/2011 3:27:16 PM
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Nice trend piece, Ann. I was little surprised to see luggage tracking on the list. It makes sense simply because of the complexity. I'd love to see how automatic luggage tracking is improving the process of keeping travelers moving parallel to their bags.

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