Days of Future Past
As the 2011 draws back to a close, we can reflect on the big robot stories of the last year. The use of robots (or more precisely the lack of robots) at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactor was one of the most important.
AMREL’s corporate blog has a recent update on Where are the Japanese Robots? Much of the update concerns a highly informative blog by the robot operator at the damaged plant. For reasons unknown, the Japanese blog has disappeared, but IEEE Spectrum has posted translations on their website. If you are interested in UGV performance in an extremely hazardous environment, this is a must read. BTW, the IEEE Spectrum posting has a photo of a bunch of guys in hazmat suits crowded around an AMREL laptop, being used as an OCU.
Speaking of the past, Slate’s Future Tense published a brief study that analyzes anti-robot hysteria in the 1930s. Fear of killer robots did not begin with Arnold.
Of course, the end of one year is the beginning of another, so it is appropriate to start thinking about the future. What will the future look like? Will robots have legs or wheels? Are we going to build robots that are adapted to human environment or change our environment to suit the needs of machines? AMREL’s corporate blog takes a look at this issue in “Walk n’ Roll.”
Sometimes, stories that were overlooked at the time can have a huge impact for the future. Two such stories are the Navy’s efforts to test a carrier-based landing system for UCAVs and a project to develop automatic in-flight refueling for UAVs. If these programs are successful, not only will UAVs be able to land anywhere and go any distance, but also manned flight capabilities will be expanded. As the writer over at aviationintel.com notes about the carrier landing, “This is really a big deal…”
For some of us, the most important question about the future is, “What gifts am I going to buy for Christmas?” The Robot Report runs its annual list of robotic-themed gifts. Another idea comes from a start-up called Romotive. While many people have explored ways of using a smartphone as an OCU for robots, these guys are transforming the smartphone into a robot. Since smartphones are really little computers, this approach has a certain logic to it.
Hope all your holiday robots are fun ones!
See you in 2012!