To many of us, service robots often mean robots that assist the elderly, or help with the rehabilitation of medical patients. But the range of services that robots can perform is extremely broad. Some are involved in agricultural tasks that are either dangerous or rough on humans, such as weed-pulling and harvesting crops. Others collect trash and garbage, or work in recycling to sort waste from usable, reclaimable materials.
In security and law enforcement, there are simple robots that autonomously "walk" a beat looking for sensor readings that raise an alarm, as well as telepresence robots that can give disabled police or veterans jobs as remote patrol officers. Other robots, shaped like fish, swim in schools to detect polluting chemicals in seawater, and one robot is being developed to go into orbit as a combined mobile gas station and spacecraft mechanic.
Click on the photo below to check them out.
Robotic fish that swim in schools and cooperate using artificial intelligence to detect and identify pollution in seawater have been created by SHOAL, an EU-funded group of researchers led by BMT Group. The goal is to cut the time required to detect pollution in ports and other aquatic areas from weeks to seconds, using the robotic fishes' chemical sensors for onsite analysis. The robots can avoid obstacles, determine where to look for pollution using mapping, locate its source, maintain a maximum communication distance from the rest of the school, send data underwater back to a base station, and return to it for recharging. (Source: BMT Group)
Wow, I think that tractor's cool, Ann. Actually, it's better than the one I was referring to. We published an article about ithe other one a few years back. Unfortunately, the photos seem to have disappeared.
Cabe, I wouldn't want a gardening bot either. I like to get my hands dirty--shades of my toddler-era mudpie making--and connect with green things. But did you mean the CROPS harvesting robot or the Blue River weed puller? Neither one was for home gardening. Besides, I'm all for someone else pulling weeds.
I love the fact that robotics has gotten into high school competitions. I've seen tons of news items about those. I
Chuck, I found pictures of a John Deere walking tractor at this link: http://www.theoldrobots.com/Walking-Robot2.html Don't know if this is the same one you mentioned, but in any case, it's sufficiently creepy: looks like a big bug to me.
The problem with the robots and the controls is that all of that software is written by programmers. And, really, we all know it, programmers are NOT normal people. Actually, it goes way beyond that, which is to say that the problem will always be t6hat the computer systems don't know how to handle the exceptions. Even when they believe that all possible exceptions are covered, up pops another one. On top of that, artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity. Of course, when designers attempt to prevent problems from dumb users any given system becomes much less useful, and often much less intuitive as well.
The gardening bot is the only silly one in the group. Isn't home gardening like a hobby or relaxing task? Otherwise, all those bots are useful. Much of the world around us, our electronics, etc are affected by robots.
I used to design and fabricate small steel bridges. What cut the bridge components? Industrial robots.
I like how robotics is being pushed early in the education system. A friend of mine hosts a robotics club for neighborhood kids. They have competed nationally, and still do so. Some of the kids from the group moved on to engineering fields in college. So, perhaps the next big bot revolution will come from a kid like this. We all need a robot personal assistant, am I right?
That type of problem is what's being addressed in work done by the University of Aberdeen, which we wrote about inHumans, Do You Speak !~+V•&T1F0()? http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=251721 so humans and robots can communicate at a distance about specific tasks the robot is engaged in, and change plans or tactics as necessary.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is