Software that will let people and robots communicate to plan difficult and complex tasks, such as dismantling a nuclear power plant, is being developed at a Scottish university. (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Stefan Kühn)
Mydesign, I think the intent here regarding nuclear power plants refers to the robots used in dealing with the most radioactive parts. You might recall that in the Fukushima situation some robots from the US were sent in to check the affected areas so that humans would not have to. These robots carried cameras and sensors for that task.
Typically researchers will mention high value situations like this. If it works, though, the real money is always in high volume. The real payday on something like this is the cell phone market.
Ann, what's the need of software to dismantle the nuclear power plant. I know the importance of human robot communication, but I think the developments has to be happen in other directions like disaster management and rescue operations.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.