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Jack Rupert, PE
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Platinum
Re: Creep Factor
Jack Rupert, PE   5/13/2012 12:37:20 PM
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What I've noticed with this one is that they didn't try to give it a face - which I think tends to be a major failing with a lot of the humanoid robots.  The "helmet" look prevents the "creep factor" of something that looks "almost" human.

apresher
User Rank
Blogger
Creep Factor
apresher   5/10/2012 11:30:33 AM
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Beth, It's interesting to me that the creep factor is a major consideration for you. Clearly there is a trend to mobile robots interacting more with human workers, from autonomous vehicles that are transporting materials in tire manufacturing plants, for example, to surgical assistants helping with organization and sterilization of instruments.  In any of these applications where there is human interaction, I guess there is an adjustment to working with the robot.  I guess it's the upper torso design that makes the difference in this case.  It's interesting that GM sees the possibility long-term of service robots used in assembly areas, working in conjunction with human workers as a possibility.

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: Design by intent
Beth Stackpole   5/10/2012 7:02:20 AM
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I think it would have to be relegated to applications where people weren't exposed to it otherwise the creep factor would be too much of a distraction.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Design by intent
Charles Murray   5/9/2012 8:04:33 PM
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Good point, Beth. I wonder how the octopus would fare on the creep factor scale (the so-called "uncanny valley.)

apresher
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Blogger
Humanoid Robots
apresher   5/9/2012 9:21:51 AM
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We did a story with GM on this, and part of their motivation is to explore the possibilities of humanoid robots being used in assembly areas. That would require working closely with human workers which creates interesting issues related to safety and productivity.  Interesting technology.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Design by intent
Beth Stackpole   5/9/2012 6:49:43 AM
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Talk about the stuff of nightmares ... but given the issues that Ann mentioned, an octopus design might have more applicability in terms of serving up more "hands on deck" for jobs that require dexterity when it comes to small motor skills.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Design by intent
TJ McDermott   5/8/2012 10:42:20 PM
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jhankwitz, I can accept HAL in an R2D2 body.  Your image of an autonomous octopus is the thing of nightmares.

Human interaction with automation is branching out in many interesting ways.  Engadget.com (sorry for the reference to another technology site) has numerous articles about studies of ever-more-realistic human-form robots.

An octopus is absolutely a smarter, more efficient form factor.  It may not be accepted by its users though.

Nancy Golden
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Science fiction movie
Nancy Golden   5/8/2012 9:53:42 PM
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I agree Beth, it is a shame that space exploration research has been curtailed. Not only did it generate new technology and bring people a level of enthusiasm and solidarity in past decades that little else could come close to - it also created invaluable spin off technologies that both improved life and stimulated the economy.

That is another important aspect of STEM, keeping space in front of our kids so that they still grow up with a sense of wonder that only the stars can bring about. We are frequent visitors to the McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis and brought our son on his 13th birthday for a special viewing that is only held a few times a year through the 109" telescope. I am guessing there were about thirty people in our group and our son was the only kid...

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Design by intent
Ann R. Thryft   5/8/2012 1:33:22 PM
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jhankwitz has an interesting point--how much do robots in space need to have human parts or features when gravity isn't an issue? I think part of the answer is that gravity is an issue in a space station, and that fingers or some such appendage for manipulating is needed, at least when Robonaut 2 needs to flip switches, or when surgical robots are being deployed to service or refuel satellites:
http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=237609

jhankwitz
User Rank
Platinum
Design by intent
jhankwitz   5/8/2012 11:08:18 AM
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I can understand configuring a new robot to look like a human only to the extent that it will be operating equipment designed to be operated by humans.  Human shape and configuration evolved under the strong effect of gravity. 

If we're building robots and other equipment for use in space,  it may be far more practical to omit robot design features used to deal with gravity such as legs, feet, and toes for transport and arms, hands and fingers for manipulation.  I would think robots should look more like an octipus that evolved in near weightlessness. Equipment and robots would best be designed to work with each other, eliminating the physical human factors.

It almost looks like they're trying to put HAL's brain into a modified R2D2 body.  Heaven help us when it becomes self aware.

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