Sunday, 5 December 2010

Walking robots

I don't want to belittle the work and research of robotic engineers who have designed and built robots like the Asimo. The point is, there is no point. They are, frankly just publicity stunts. Asimo does not walk like a human being - it is kinematic i.e. the angular movements of each joint are calculated, programmed in real time. This is a huge achievement but it is not walking; walking is a controlled falling using 3D balance and constant adjustments to terrain, gradient and obstacles. The technology is not leading anywhere useful.

Our robot arms are simple (we think so) and are designed to automate simple repetitive tasks consistently and efficiently with the minimum of programming. We make no other claims about them.

Robots like Asimo are the result of a hundred years of accumulated technology. The designs must be vast, especially when you take into account the designs of the motors, sensors, processors, memory, circuits, software and so on. Yet compared to a real human being they are not much further forward than the first automatons. And still yet the entire design of that vastly complex system called a human being can be locked up in the DNA of a single cell, too small even to see.

The same problem exists with artificial intelligence. Imagine a device that can fly away from base, seek and detect using light, color and chemical analysis of the air, obtain the product it seeks and find it's own way back to base. It's called a bee. It's brain/processor is only 1mm in diameter. A human brain is 1.4 liters - 140,000 times bigger.

The very word robot is deceiving. George Devol did not call the first one a robot he called it a programmable transfer machine. Much more realistic. The drive to imitate humans has no useful purpose. And this is proven by the market - if it has no useful purpose no-one will buy it.


No comments:

Post a Comment