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Design by intent
jhankwitz   5/8/2012 11:08:18 AM
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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Re: Science fiction movie
naperlou   5/8/2012 9:31:12 AM
Beth, activities like space exploration stimulate the economy much more than the construction industry and local government as was done in the recent stimulus.  It also stresses engineering and gets innovation into the "civilian" economy fairly quickly. 

You are correct also that we are steadily moving forward (21st century) despite the economic issues.  This is some cause for optimism.

User Rank
Re: Science fiction movie
NadineJ   5/8/2012 8:56:54 AM
This is very cool.  A great first step.  These can also be used in deep sea diving reseach.  SInce 1960, we've been to the bottom of the Mariana Trench 4 times.  We could move faster and even stay down longer if decommpression sickness isn't an issue.

I thought the GM co-branding, on the chest in Nascar-style, was interesting. 

Considering how complex the human body is, the limited mobility it has is impressive.

User Rank
Degrees of freedom ?
GlennA   5/8/2012 8:37:59 AM
2 degrees of freedom in the wrist, and about 12 degrees of freedom in the hand ?  Is this supposed to be the equivalent of 'axes of movement' ?  I guess the wrist can rotate and bend = 2 axes of motion.  The 'about 12' in the hand may be the finger segmants.  Is it about 12 because they aren't sure how many ? Or because the individual joints have some interferences in certain movements ?

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Science fiction movie
Beth Stackpole   5/8/2012 8:21:42 AM
Wow, between this development and Chuck's slide show on intelligent highways and cars, it's quite a wake-up call to the 21st or maybe even 22nd century!

I definitely applaud the idea of sending robots into space to perform the tasks that humans can't or shouldn't. I'm assuming a lot had to go into the design to enable the humanoid machine to function properly despite the laws of gravity. Too bad we're pulling back on space exploration research at a time when we have all this new technology to help uncover valuable insights.

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