Robots are coming

2010-06-25 08:37

kalahari.com

Cape Town - Robots that perform the functions we see in science fiction movies are still some way off, but the technology for domestic robots is growing fast.

"I believe that we will see robots that perform smaller individual tasks, but not necessarily robots as complex as those in the sci-fi movies or as butler robots, since we may not really need such robots in our daily life," Professor Hendrik Lund told News24.

Lund is from Denmark where he is known for his robotics  projects and workshops with children and was a guest speaker at the CSIR Meraka Institute and he was talking about the design approach for technological tools that may enhance playful interaction.

"I believe that we will see many robots, and we will have a lot of robotic systems that perform services, for example, cleaning, lawn moving and heavy lifting" said Lund.

He said that robots today have been designed with a better sense of "dynamic environments" and are vastly improved from 20 years ago.

Control

"The sensors have improved, and as with computers the processing power has increased dramatically. Currently, we see more and more improvements also in the artificial intelligence of the robotic systems making them more flexible and adaptive," said Lund.

He indicated though, that industry will continue to lead in robotic applications because the environment is easier to control than a domestic one. This, he said, meant that domestic robots are still some years away from universal application.

"In industrial robotics it is often possible to control the environment, for example, make the assembly line run at a certain speed, always place objects at a specific place, cover the incoming light, to make the tasks easy for the industrial robots.

"This is not the case in domestic environments, where things are never static and always change (the position of things changes place, incoming light changes over the day and the season, something suddenly comes in the way of a mobile robot)," said Lund.

He does think that homes will become more digital as more common domestic appliances incorporate microprocessors and advanced sensors, but generic software to drive robots will remain elusive as the robot's environment may change quickly.

"At some level you can make generic software for high level decision making in robots, but you always have to be careful, because there needs to be a close loop with the hardware and the sensory input from the environment,
which may change at a rapid speed," he said.

Lund also said that space exploration has greatly assisted robot design and manufacture as there were many tasks suited to robots in the harsh environment of space or other planets.

Playware

"The space race and especially the idea of going to Mars has influenced robotics in the way that there is a renewed focus from some researchers on making autonomous robots, and co-operating systems of many small robots.

"The distributed system of many small robots may hold the advantage that if one robot suddenly fails up on Mars, then all the other robots will just continue performing the task that it was supposed to do," he said.

Lund also believes that as robotics improves, so will the use of artificial robotic limbs as has already been demonstrated by Professor Yoshiyuki Sankai of Tsukuba University, Japan. He demonstrated the HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limbs) robot suit that enhances human body functions.

He added that there was still some debate about the ethics of robots used in warfare, such as the unmanned drones in operation in Afghanistan and Iraq, saying that he would focus on robots to help mankind.

"I would never develop military robots myself, but would rather develop robotic systems that can help us as mankind, as when we develop playware, which is intelligent hardware and software that creates play and playful experiences for any kind of user," he said.

Lund has published several scientific articles in the field of robotics and has headed the Lego Lab from 1997 to 2000.
- News24

Read more on:    csir  |  technology  |  robotics
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Paarden Eiland - 08:55 AM
    Road name: Marine Drive Southbound
    DELAYS between Sunset Beach and the N1 Highway Interchange
  • Friday Cape Town - 08:52 AM
    Road name: N2 Inbound
    STATIONARY VEHICLE at Hospital Bend - DELAYS from Bhunga Avenue
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia N9

The Nokia N9 has a beautiful one-piece, unibody design where...

From R2899.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be putting too much effort into someone or something. You are doing it out of love and compassion but there is a chance...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.