Robot News (links – no post)

I was going to write a post on this along time ago. Instead, I just follow this blog – . So, I am dumping these links. I may write on robotics now and then.

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Robot News – 12/11/2008

Danger Room reports that iRobot is “laying off ten percent of its flesh-and-blood workforce”.I am too cheap to buy a Roomba unless they can cut another $100 off the price.

The Robot Wife story has appeared at Slash Dot and Hot Air. More appropriate would perhaps be to call this a Fembot or a (shudder) ComfortBot.

Here is what SlashDot wrote:

Le’s wife, Aiko, starts the day by reading him the newspaper headlines and they go for a drives in the countryside. Le says his relationship with Aiko hasn’t strayed into the bedroom, but a few tweaks could turn her into a sexual partner, even redesigning her to have a simulated orgasm.

It is a bit creepy. There are of course, plenty of human subject matter experts who can help with the orgasm expert system (though I am not sure why he would bother). It might be more interesting though is had some iRobot functionality such as cleaning and lawn cutting.Throw in a remote control with a mute button and there is an entrepreneurship opportunity!

There is mention of an anti-ICBM KillBot at Fox News and HotAir. Normally , I think the idea of using anti-personnel KillBots is a stupid/bad idea that the US should avoid. It should be okay for going after non-manned things like Missiles though.

Robot News: “Ethical Killing Machines”

From Slash Dot:

“The New York Times reports on research to develop autonomous battlefield robots that would ‘behave more ethically in the battlefield than humans.’ The researchers claim that these real-life terminators ‘can be designed without an instinct for self-preservation and, as a result, no tendency to lash out in fear.

BTW: I think American Killbots would be a 4GW disaster:

Unless killbots give the US such an advantage that victory at the
tactical and physical levels occurs rapidly or allows the US to partake
in conflict at a dramatically reduced cost (resources and/or manpower),
the enemy will be able to make many gains on the moral. Undecided fence
sitters will drift away from the US. Supporters will support us less.
The enemy will gather strength and rally itself as the scappy underdog
standing up to the souless/satanic killbots.

Which is more important for victory, the moral or the
tactical/physical? WWBS (aka What Would Boyd Say – and yes I just made
that up – bumper stickers and cofee mugs will be available for sale
soon on )? I think we know the answer to that.

The US can already win the tactical and physical levels. Killbots weaken us on the moral level though.

Now I am picturing Daleks with US flags on them. How about – Uncle
Sambots? USAbots? I can just visualize the anti-US propaganda videos

Enough with the KillBots, already. We don’t need them. Unless they are AntiHippyBots.

Is he thinking:
“Where are the hippies? I have an ethical obligation to terminate them.”

More Robot News: “Bug-Sized Spies: U.S. Develops Tiny Flying Robots”

At FoxNews:

“The way we envision it is, there would be a bunch of these sent out in a swarm,” said Greg Parker, who helps lead the research project at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. “If we know there’s a possibility of bad guys in a certain building, how do we find out? We think this would fill that void.”

In essence, the research seeks to miniaturize the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle drones used in Iraq and Afghanistan for surveillance and reconnaissance.

The next generation of drones, called Micro Aerial Vehicles, or MAVs, could be as tiny as bumblebees and capable of flying undetected into buildings, where they could photograph, record, and even attack insurgents and terrorists.

By identifying and assaulting adversaries more precisely, the robots would also help reduce or avoid civilian casualties, the military says.

Parker and his colleagues plan to start by developing a bird-sized robot as soon as 2015, followed by the insect-sized models by 2030.

The vehicles could be useful on battlefields where the biggest challenge is collecting reliable intelligence about enemies.

“If we could get inside the buildings and inside the rooms where their activities are unfolding, we would be able to get the kind of intelligence we need to shut them down,” said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va.

Robot News: Frank J.’s “Do No Robo-Harm” List

It is pretty darn funny!

* Make sure they all have prominent big red buttons on them that deactivates them.

* Never give them AI by merging the minds of different serial killers.

* Make them out of Nerf™.

* Have a limit of five weapons per robot.

* Never give them access to time machines.

* Don’t have their programming give them a hundred points per person they kill.

* Never make a robot monkey.

* No matter what excuses they give, don’t ever take off their restraining bolts.

* Install Vista on them so no killing spree can last longer than a few minutes without them needing to reboot.

* Make sure killbots have a preset killing limit.

* Put a big label on each robot saying, “Please Don’t Tease the Robot”.

He also has a LOL replacement version of Asimov’s Three Law of Robotics:

1. Only kill foreigners.

2. Give children hugs unless it conflicts with the first law.

3. Do the robot dance to entertain people unless it conflicts with the first and second law.

4. Do everything Frank J. says. Ignore all other laws.

Whoops; that last law was supposed to be hidden.

It is good to start out the weekend with a hearty laugh.

“Find Gort more hippies!”

Robot News: “Roll over, Rover: Robot service dogs are on the way”

Via the Dallas News:

Inside Kemp’s Healthcare Robotics Lab at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, he and co-workers are developing a robot dog they say could someday perform the same functions as the service dogs that are vital to many physically disabled people.

At a skinny 5 feet 7 inches tall, with wheels instead of paws, their robodog, named El-E (pronounced “Ellie”), doesn’t look anything like a real dog.

But El-E can open doors and cabinets, fetch dropped objects and do other service dog functions – all without ever needing to eat or relieve itself.

Ultimately, Kemp and his co-researchers plan to train El-E to do things not even highly skilled service dogs can do, such as dial a cell phone for help or relay information about its companion’s condition to a doctor.

“A lot of people have looked at robot dogs for entertainment and companionship,” Kemp said. “But we said, ‘Hey, what about looking at this in terms of physical assistance?’

There are lots of possible uses.

I got to think this might still be preferred:

Robot News: “Canadians Plan Robot Sub Missions To Aid Claim For Arctic”

Via Slash Dot:

Canadian government has commissioned a pair of unmanned subs to explore the geology of two underwater Arctic mountain ranges; the subs’ mission will be to provide evidence supporting Canada’s claim to huge swaths of potentially petroleum-rich seabed areas

Robot News: “Honda Unveils Robot That Helps You Walk”

From Fox News:

TOKYO  —  Imagine a bicycle seat connected by mechanical frames to a pair of shoes for an idea of how the new wearable assisted-walking gadget from Honda works.

The experimental device, unveiled Friday, is designed to support bodyweight, reduce stress on the knees and help people get up steps and stay in crouching positions.

Honda envisions the device being used by workers at auto or other factories. It showed a video of Honda employees wearing the device and bending to peer underneath vehicles on an assembly line.

Engineer Jun Ashihara also said the machine is useful for people standing in long lines and for people who run around to make deliveries.

When I saw the headline, I figured it would be for older people, but they have a larger market in mind.

Robot News (and Entrepreneurial Opportunities): “Packs of Robots Will Hunt Down Uncooperative Humans “

You might think this is something about a fictional robot uprising, but no it is from Slash Dot:

They are looking for contractors to ‘develop a software/hardware suite that would enable a multi-robot team, together with a human operator, to search for and detect a non-cooperative human subject. The main research task will involve determining the movements of the robot team through the environment to maximize the opportunity to find the subject … Typical robots for this type of activity are expected to weigh less than 100 Kg and the team would have three to five robots.

There will be commercial uses as well:

They note that the robots would “have potential commercialization within search and rescue, fire fighting, reconnaissance, and  automated biological, chemical and radiation sensing with mobile platforms”.

I am thinking there are uses in crowd control (permanent and special events), school security, mall security, truant control, critical infrastructure security. How about trash removal, street maintenance (crack filling, pothle filling). How about electrical wiring and cabling management inside walls of buildings?

There are business opportunities here. Not just in making the robots, but in created business to provide managed services – call them Robot Service Providers (RSP).

Entrepreneurs will (and are) noting this. Robot Service Providers will be a common business in the future. I would like to be part of it.

Robot News: “Robotic Surgery On a Beating Heart “

The exciting news is at SlashDot!