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Video: Roombots Transform Into Reconfigurable Furniture

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Interesting invention, but consider all of those batteries
Ann R. Thryft   7/7/2014 12:02:49 PM
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William, I agree-- think the question should be bothering a lot of people in a lot of occupations. Sometimes, I think it should be rephrased to "just because we can do X, does that mean we should?"

William K.
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Re: Interesting invention, but consider all of those batteries
William K.   7/1/2014 7:36:20 PM
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Ann, absolutely! That decision is very often in front of us. But as an engineeri I often think about those in engineering who fail to consider it. Certainly that same question should pester our lawmakers and judges a whole lot more than it apparently does.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Interesting invention, but consider all of those batteries
Ann R. Thryft   7/1/2014 12:44:52 PM
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William, you might be surprised how many situations and fields of endeavor that question applies to outside of engineering.



William K.
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Re: Interesting invention, but consider all of those batteries
William K.   7/1/2014 9:38:37 AM
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Ann, that question about "should I?" is especially applical to engineers because at least some of us are so very creative but not every idea that pops up is a good one. They would work but not benefit anybody. And some ideas are for creations that would simply be a waste of time, effort, and materials. 

Ann R. Thryft
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RE: Interesting invention, but consider all of those batteries.
Ann R. Thryft   6/30/2014 1:07:55 PM
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AnandY, while a more active robot with arms that can manipulate objects--such as pouring the glass of water to begin with--might be more helpful overall, that wasn't the point of this R&D experiment. It would also cost a lot, lot, lot more than these simple building blocks. And it would use a lot more power. This design is definitely created to do what you said: simple tasks such as moving objects closer to a disabled or elderly person, as we state in the article.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Interesting invention, but consider all of those batteries
Ann R. Thryft   6/30/2014 1:01:37 PM
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William, I use the "Yes we can but that doesn't mean we should" example often in daily life, although not usually in terms of engineering. In this case, though, we're talking about robotics, and especially self-assembling and self-reconfiguring robots, which is still a new and, I think, exciting, field where a lot of experimentation is going on--like this. I may not like the way these building blocks look, but I'm still intrigued by what the engineers are trying to accomplish.

AnandY
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RE: Interesting invention, but consider all of those batteries.
AnandY   6/28/2014 5:54:49 AM
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Having to create roombots to help people is excellent. But definitely it would be much better having to create a robot in itself that can help people will be ultimately perfect. This technology seems like it is just meant to fulfill certain easy things like bringing a chair or moving things in general. All the batteries that are required are another thing to consider when it comes to the expense.

William K.
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Re: Interesting invention, but consider all of those batteries
William K.   6/27/2014 9:32:04 PM
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Ann, probably what these robotic furniture cells would be most useful for is some sort of really wierd science fiction movie. You are certainly correct about the openings being both integral and undesireable. It all brings to mind a line from an engineering ethics discussion, "Yes, I can do that, BUT SHOULD I?" There are lots of things engineers can create that would be very interesting challenges, but they would not be a benefit to anybody, and many would do real harm. And there are huge areas of "things" that would not do any harm, but they would only be a waste of time and resources. 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Interesting invention, but consider all of those batteries
Ann R. Thryft   6/26/2014 12:35:34 PM
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William, I also wondered about the strength of the connections. It would have been good to know more details about the materials used.



Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Admirable technology, questionable esthetics
Ann R. Thryft   6/25/2014 12:36:23 PM
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fm, good question about charging and what happens if the batteries wear down during service. I suspect that's already been taken into account, since it's a basic robotics design question. But aesthetics is a different story. I do like green and black, but (mostly) not inside my house.
And I agree, I thought this was a weird idea, too. But that made me want to find out more about it.



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