June 28, 2015

Robot autonomy moves closer with latest sensing technology

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Here at the Apocalypse Watch bunker we know its only a matter of time before robots rise up and enslave us, but according to the Robotic Industries Association that time could come sooner than we think, thanks to new advanced sensing technology.This technology combined with ever improving software and strides that have been made in the tech for how robots can manipulate the environment has resulted in smarter robots than ever before.

The latest versions of our future overlords are being fitted with sensing technology that will allow them to see, hear, feel, taste and smell, just like organic creatures.

Artificial intelligence is closing the gap on organics and improvements in vision systems, force and tactile sensors, speech recognition, and even olfactory receptors are creating robots that were the reserve of science fiction writers just a generation ago.

Vision is perhaps the most rapidly evolving of the AI senses with the arrival of 3D laser scanners being supported by improvements in imaging and mapping software.

Top of the list of developments is arguably uncalibrated servo technology. This allows robots to effectively “see” and therefore have the potential to manipulate their environment, even carrying out very precise tasks without the need for calibration of cameras. Instead robots will be able to learn in the same way a baby learns by working from a blank slate and adding “memories” over time from pictures taken with it’s camera – it won’t even need to see entire objects to be able to recognise them.

These visual advancements will help with mobility too – the advanced recognition and mapping will allow AI to find its way around an environment in a more intelligent way than ever before. Check out this quad copter navigating autonomously in at Penn State University.
 
Being able to see is massive but coupled with greater touch sensitivity allows robots to be more precise in their actions which is amazing for manufacturing but will in future allow then know just how much pressure they need to exert to crush our puny organic windpipes with their robotic fists.
If you have made much use of Siri or Google now you wont be surprised to learn that robots are also improving on the way they hear with accurate speech recognition, with social robots like Pepper, which sold out withinminutes of going on sale
 
Taste and smell are on the agenda too with robot chefs cooking up a storm and technology that will allow search and rescue robots to sniff out people trapped after earthquakes and other natural disasters. Although this sounds to us like exactly the sort of think that robots will use to eventually seek and destroy humans in an effort to wipe us out.
Even more terrifyingly, robots are being fitted with senses that are beyond our human abilities, like sonaresque detection systems and night vision that will allow them to eventually obliterate us with ease.

Photo by JD Hancock

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