Robots: We Love The Crazy Things They Do - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
IT Life
News
2/4/2015
05:05 PM
David Wagner
David Wagner
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

Robots: We Love The Crazy Things They Do

In the past year, we've made robots do some pretty crazy things. These are our favorites.
Previous
1 of 12
Next

(Image: Derek Bridges via Wikimedia Commons)

(Image: Derek Bridges via Wikimedia Commons)

From now until Valentine's Day, InformationWeek will be doing lists of things we love, including everything from mobile devices to enterprise software and all things in between. Today, we’re looking at some of the craziest things we've taught robots to do in the last year. Robots are serious business. We find them in the military, manufacturing, healthcare, and increasingly in other enterprise settings.

The interesting thing about robots is that most are still very specialized, and they need to be that way because we're still trying to figure out how to replicate many human tasks. Not everyone necessarily wants to create a perfectly human android. But nearly all robotic tasks are designed to replicate something that is either too dangerous, too tedious, or too expensive for a human to do. Even without trying to make an artificial life form, the key to making better robots it to figure out how to teach them to do everything a human can do.

That's everything. Even crazy things. You must have seen this vomiting robot from a few years ago, vomiting Larry:

Larry is designed to help understand contamination issues, especially around Norovirus. And realistically, we're probably not going to need to make a robot throw up for any reason in the future, but waiting for humans to throw up to run a test (or inducing them to do so) doesn't make sense either.

In the past, we've also had robots learn to catch, play ping-pong (mostly), and run. These were clearly designed around helping robots move and have coordination that's more like humans. And yet the catalog of human endeavor has barely been scratched.

One wonders how long it will be until we start putting the catching robot together with the running robot and the ping-pong playing robot to make an athlete that rivals Olympians. When will we take the vomiting robot and attach it to other medical training robots to make a patient that med students can work on and get a real-life experience? We're getting close.

Miniaturizing everything and supplying the computing power is still hard. But as you can see this most recent crop of crazy robots is showing promise. The tasks are more complicated and they are doing them faster and with more practical value (well, some). The "real" androids may not be far behind.

Check out the crazy things we're doing now, and tell us your favorites in the comments section below.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 12
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
BillDChandler
50%
50%
BillDChandler,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/5/2015 | 10:47:17 AM
Cooking in the IoT Kitchen
As a batchlor  I'm interested in the potential of the IoT in the kitchen, to make my life easier, and it seems a cooking robot would be the perfect addition to that.  It would work with the other utilities, get new ideas and cook dinner.  Order food and put it away. Plan the meals, do the dishes. Even feed the cat when I'm away.  
soozyg
50%
50%
soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
2/5/2015 | 9:17:11 AM
disney
Leave it to Disney to create a robot that's just for wealthy people entertainment, that doesn't actually help anyone or improve life at all. I suppose those bartender robots are a similar notion, I just don't like Disney because, to me, they represent unhelpful conspicuous consumption.
soozyg
50%
50%
soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
2/5/2015 | 9:11:16 AM
cooking robot
so interesting.

learns the most important part of the task

How does the robot do this? I'm sure it must be cued by language in cooking shows like "Now this is very important" or "Now, remember to...." but that's would be part of the script. What is the cook goes off script and doesn't use those key words?
soozyg
50%
50%
soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
2/5/2015 | 9:07:28 AM
projecting
My first question would be: There's enough projectile vomiting going around that we actually need a robot to simulate it?
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
Slideshows
10 Ways to Transition Traditional IT Talent to Cloud Talent
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  11/23/2020
News
Top 10 Data and Analytics Trends for 2021
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/13/2020
Commentary
Can Low Code Measure Up to Tomorrow's Programming Demands?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/16/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
Video
Current Issue
Why Chatbots Are So Popular Right Now
In this IT Trend Report, you will learn more about why chatbots are gaining traction within businesses, particularly while a pandemic is impacting the world.
Slideshows
Flash Poll