Heather Knight, a roboticist and founder of Marilyn Monrobots, is trying to bridge the uncanny valley by adding humor to the robotic repertoire. Her robot, Data, can do imitations of Darth Vader, R2D2, and Buzz Lightyear. (Photo courtesy of Freescale Semiconductor.)
Regarding the chosen female form factor. I have long thought that some of the Japanese roboticists seem to be in the process of trying to create nothing less than the equivalent of a robotic concubine.
I find the fascination with humanoid robots odd. We don't need automation that resembles the human body. ATMs are one of the most successful human-replacement gizmos. Yet it doesn't resemble the human body in the least. The robotic welder doesn't look human.
With all the possible threats coming this way to human beings, I say why not take a crash advanced robots and android development series of programs?
There is too much corruption within government in order to let them take control of everything.
I feel why not make factory starts to where companion robots and androids could be constructed on a scale similar to a large auto manufacture, so that almost anyone could afford to rent or own a robot or android.
The technology is there, it’s just that mankind’s social situation is based to where our collective decisions shy us away from innovations such as robot companions.
A robot or android companion is nothing more than an advance o.s platform that is a little more interactive, on a mobile base. There is chance here' but I would tend to say allow it.
Computer Technician with a good bit of experience in back of him
Interesting point, Bob. Yet I believe excellence in function will ultimately be the test of acceptance in automated systems. A good example is Amazon or ATMs. They provide excellence in function and they are not humanoid. We now prefer them to human interaction in part because they are not human. They perform at a level of efficiency that is beyond a human bookseller or bank clerk.
Yes, the U.S. robots and definitely more industrial. The Japanese robots, on the other hand, are definitely humanoid and often tend to be female. For what it's worth, I've yet to see anyone build a robot that has decidely male characteristics.
Looking at the slideshow, one could posit that there's a cultural influence on the type of robot a nation tends to build. Americans are looking downward (Roomba) or very industrially focused. The Japanese robots have an altogether different focus, one which is both very future directed (sci-fi influence) but also unusual to say the least. As the HMI on robots evolves, it'll be interesting to see how and to what extent the aesthetic influences the functionality and vice versa.
The robot in the picture appears to be a NAO from http://www.aldebaran-robotics.com/. I recently saw a live demo at the FedEx Institute of Technology on the University of Memphis. It is very cute, fully programmable, fairly nimble, has a decent complement of front facing sensors. Marketed as a research platform, it is too small to do much useful real world work, but makes a great $9000 - $16000 toy for testing human reaction to humanoid shaped robots. Everyone I was with wanted one. It recognized its operators face and voice providing a personalized menu of voice activated options in concert with an invisible touch sensor on its head. Part of the demo was dancing to "Thriller". The 'ears' are decent speakers. It remained standing maintaining its balance despite mild attempts to push it over. When it was pushed over, it gracefully stood itself back up the way a human would in about 15 seconds using its hands to assist. It had pressure sensors in its rigid feet that helped it shuffle around obstacles it detected via chest sonar. 'Eyes' are IR receivers with RGB led 'mascara'. I was told it was smart enough not to walk off a ledge, but in this case the floor and table were both white so it could not distinguish between them. It seemed to take over a minute to boot up. The company seems eager to support its users in developing new routines for NAO. Apparently it plays soccer.
If the intent is to replace a human then I think that they robot should sort of look human, but probably with different proportions. I have seen the "robot dog" running with the pack on it's back, and it was a bit strange looking because it had no head. I like industrial robots because they are tools that look like tools, and there is no confusion there. Their appearance is also a constant reminder of how dangerous they can be when they move quickly.
The humanoid looking robots, even the "cute" ones, and the pretty ones, all seem a bit creepy because I understand that their behavior is programmed by programmers, and I am aware that the thought processes of most programmers are somewhat abnormal, at best.
But if you want something really creepy, spend a day alone working in an area with a bunch of crash dummys sitting against a wall just outside of where you are focused. They move around when they think you aren't looking, which is really creepy, since they don't have faces.
One way to keep a Formula One racing team moving at breakneck speed in the pit and at the test facility is to bring CAD drawings of the racing vehicleís parts down to the test facility and even out to the track.
Most of us would just as soon step on a cockroach rather than study it, but thatís just what researchers at UC Berkeley did in the pursuit of building small, nimble robots suitable for disaster-recovery and search-and-rescue missions.
Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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