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Slideshow: Service Robots Can Do Most Anything
11/12/2012

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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)
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)

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Cabe Atwell
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Re: Diversity
Cabe Atwell   11/13/2012 6:47:59 PM
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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?

C

William K.
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Re: Diversity
William K.   11/13/2012 8:36:44 PM
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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.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Diversity
Ann R. Thryft   11/14/2012 12:36:19 PM
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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.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Diversity
Ann R. Thryft   11/14/2012 2:06:25 PM
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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

Charles Murray
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Re: Diversity
Charles Murray   11/14/2012 6:46:18 PM
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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.

http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=219094

 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Diversity
Ann R. Thryft   11/15/2012 12:22:37 PM
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Thanks for the link, Chuck. Too bad there's no photo!

mrdon
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Re: Diversity
mrdon   11/18/2012 8:40:46 PM
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Ann and nadinej, Very nice slideshow. These robots look more artistic than functional. I'm. wondering what stage of robotic develeopment these machines are at? Some of them look like non functional machines instead of operating robots.

NadineJ
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Re: Diversity
NadineJ   11/19/2012 10:57:12 AM
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Good questions.  Video can be helpful to show functionality but sometimes, in early development, video is disappointing.

mrdon
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Re: Diversity
mrdon   11/19/2012 12:16:57 PM
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NadineJ, You are correct. Product Concept videos generally look cheesy because of the low fidelity CGI used to make them.

SparkyWatt
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Re: Diversity
SparkyWatt   11/28/2012 6:43:25 PM
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Actually, I was disappointed with this post.  There are a lot of great concepts here, but very little that actually works.  This points to some great directions that we can try to go, but it doesn't show much that we are actually doing.  People can tout concepts all day, and even have a good idea about how to make them work, but that is a long step from having a usable system.

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