I am always amazed that the developments in robotics that are happening in my lifetime. I wish that Isaac Asimov had lived just a bit longer so he could see what the industry is producing today. Sarcos has made the prototype, which is under development in Japan. This robot can recover from pushes intended to topple it over. I’m sure a lot of you have seen the video of the ASIMO robot falling down some simple steps. This new robot with flexible joints and advanced balancing system appears to be the next generation of humanoid robots. For more information, including a video demonstration, check out the full article at NewScientistTech. Found via SlashDot
Flexible joint robot by Sarcos puts Honda’s ASIMO to shame
Everyone knows (or should!) that Honda has tipped their hat to Isaac Asimov by naming their robot line Asimo. For those that have been living in caves for the past 50 years, he inadvertently invented the word ‘robotics’ in his story Runaround. He assumed it already was a word, but he is attributed for the first use of it in a publication. I remember seeing a YouTube video of these little robots a few years ago which caught my eye. This commercial tries to show the ‘human’ side of robots. I highly doubt that all of the actions in the commercial were autonomous, but I can’t see why it won’t be possible in the near future. Considering I am just a few days away from finishing my huge book project in Asimov’s Robot & Foundation Universe I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across this.
A quick look to related videos on YouTube showcased a technical demo of some new abilities in the new Asimo robot version. I’m very impressed to see the progress that has been made. Many of the tasks they show are fairly simple, but I think if they can make the robots use power efficiently they will be useful. It’s amazing that probably within 100 years of Asimov’s robot stories there might be a working model similar to his creations. Of course we are a bit behind robot production, since US Robotics and Mechanical Men had positronic robots in production in the 1990s.
Of course there are several videos of failed demonstrations with the Asimo prototypes taking spills while trying to do something as simple as walking up and down stairs. I’m confident that Honda will work out the bugs with the programming and balancing servos sooner or later. I know I will be keeping an eye on development in robotics.
Wow, looks like I’ve had quite a few hits from StumbleUpon. Hopefully I can get some interesting feedback with this nice spike in visitors.
So, do any of you think that Robots can or will ever become self aware? If so, how soon do you think it could happen given the rapid development of technology? Would humans revolt and ban such machines? Asimov covers that last question in his science fiction, which is one of my favorite themes. Are there any authors you might recommend that focus on human/robot relations?
There have been quite a few companies that have explored letting employees work from home part time or even full time. Trevor Blackwell, founder of Anybots, is working on a technology that can make interacting with workers still physically at a building much easier. This seems to me to be an early step to a world like I saw in Surrogates. I’m always fascinated when I see science catching up with Sci-Fi. Check out the company’s promo video at the Anybots homepage.
Gold, The Final Science Fiction Collection – Isaac AsimovGold, The Final Science Fiction Collection – Isaac Asimov
In 1992, the year of his death, Isaac Asimov was awarded the Hugo Award for best novella for writing Gold. This story, along with many others was published in 1995. Along with 14 other short stories, there are collections of essays called “On Science Fiction,” and “Writing Science Fiction.” Interestingly enough, I found the essays much more interesting than the stories themselves. I think this is partly because I have read a TON of his fiction, but haven’t got around to reading his non-fiction. I’ll give a brief overview of the essays, saving the stories for later. (more…)