Thursday, April 8, 2010

State of the art robots

Oftentimes, new robots are just not blogworthy enough. Most projects have too much of a technoprogressive aftertaste to it, and fail to recognize that the beauty of robots and the field of robotics is not in technological achievement solely, but more than that, in the trend that we are externalizing ourselves by creating a myriad of embodiments we can become conscious through, as hybrid beings. Technology melting into organic life. Sure, first it entertains us, then it engages us, and in the end can elevate us towards this new state of being where we just are, beyond thinking of who we are, without the social insecurity. You dissolve into the superorganism, you leave your old shell behind, you learn to love the being of all things and the everythingness of all beings.

That having been said, here is some fairly recent material showing what robots nowadays can do, and what they are envisioned to do in the future. Forget clunky, slow, stuttering collections of metal. Robots of the future are fast, adaptive, versatile, precise, and organic.

Most interesting are Dennis Hong's biologically inspired creations with names such as RAPHaEL, HyDRAS, CHiMERA, and DARwIn. Embedded with ingenious mechatronics, these can walk, climb, crawl, play soccer, and in the future even jump over trees. The exact purpose of these is still relatively obscure, but I'm sure we'll find out uses for what we now just see as cool or awesome. We know we have to do this, and as long as innovation stays diverse and we also develop technologies to augment our own bodies, open ourselves up psychically to live in a brotherhood of man and machine, as well as set up visions for the future, I guess we are relatively safe and this will all uplift us in the end.

What about this industrial robot serving ramen to restaurant customers?

Are we ready for artificial hands that look and behave just like ours, but are not controlled by humans at all?

And I wouldn't be too surprised if our current paradigm of manufacturing things in black boxes called factories, essentially based on centralizing and hiding industrial bodies, slowly transforms into a decentralized production system, where embodied agents go into the human jungle, and will be able to make our stuff locally such as the CNC milling robot shown above.

No comments: