I agree, Chuck. This was my first time at MD&M West and I was amazed at the size of the show. It's true that there were several other shows co-located there, but even so, they filled all the halls of the entire convention center.
Yes, Liz, Baxter is another example of the "cool or creepy" question, also known as the "uncanny valley." To me, Baxter doesn't appear creepy, but I know many people who would feel uncomfortable working next to it (or him or her). Still, robots with human features aren't going away. We can expect more of them in the coming years. Here's a story that touches on the issue of the uncanny valley:
Baxter is pretty impressive...I remember when that news came out and wrote about it. It would have been super-cool to see up close. Was it (he?) cool or creepy? Can you imagine Baxter working alongside you in a factory? Just curious...
I agree, Rich. MD&M is the polar opposite of an auto show, where 25 big companies have mammoth "booths" that take up the entire show floor. MD&M has countless small booths. You could walk every aisle for a week and not to talk to everyone.
I interviewed Rethink Robotics' Eric Foellmer about Baxter at the booth. This robot has some revolutionary technology for making itself safer to be around humans, especially the materials and the non-pinching design.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
Using Siemens NX software, a team of engineering students from the University of Michigan built an electric vehicle and raced in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of those students blogged for Design News throughout the race.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.