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German Aerospace Robot Plays Catch With Two Balls

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the zwei-kugeln dept.

Robotics 60

HizookRobotics writes "German Aerospace Center (DLR) designed "Rollin' Justin" to fix satellites in space. But robotics work isn't all work and no play ... In the past, DLR engineers had Justin 'dancing like in Pulp Fiction.' More recently, in work to be presented at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in two weeks, DLR engineers demonstrated whole-body real-time control, allowing Justin to catch two balls at once, or prepare you a cup of coffee."

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So, it's a male robot? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35984014)


Re:So, it's a male robot? (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984322)

Femputer: Have you any idea how it feels to be a Fembot living in a Manbot's Manputer's world?

So german robot has two balls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35984024)

So german robot has two balls?

Re:So german robot has two balls (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984368)

The question is, _whose_ two balls has it grabbed?

Programming a robot to grab balls two at a time... what could possibly go wrong?

Re:So german robot has two balls (2)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984706)

The question is, _whose_ two balls has it grabbed? Programming a robot to grab balls two at a time... what could possibly go wrong?

I'll bet there is a German geek somewhere who's a bit less of a man than he was before this project started.

Not a great idea (1)

Mouldy (1322581) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984044)

A machine using another machine to make coffee? Should we really be teaching robots to be slave drivers?

Re:Not a great idea (2)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984096)

Your comment was meant to be amusing but there is something to to think about here: Emergent behaviors from physical interaction between robots. For example imagine an Asimo trying to drive a semi-automated car: The car's systems, built to respond to a human driver, keep cycling modifications of control outputs in a way a human driver can easily work with but Asimo keeps fighting them, causing a crash. This kind of problem isn't terribly hard to deal with in software but the only way to deal with possible physical interaction bugs is extensive testing using two systems together.

Re:Not a great idea (2)

Firehed (942385) | more than 2 years ago | (#35988524)

Sounds like an interfacing problem... There's no need for two pieces of technology to interact in a way designed for humans - think acoustic coupler modems. Should a robot ever need to drive a car (unlikely as the car would probably be self driving by that time) it should just plug into a network or service port, or even some sort of Bluetooth interface, not use the pedals and steering wheel.

This is why we need proper engineers coming up with new technology. They try to solve the actual problem, rather than just implementing some weird hack because some guy said product X should have feature Y.

Re:Not a great idea (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984102)

Huh? How is this different from say a CPU and a GPU, where the CPU feeds the GPU command stream instructions. Ooh, computer slavery. Not.

That you have generic robots that interact with more specialized robots or non-robot machinery seems like a natural way of organizing stuff. Just like humans and their appliances.

Re:Not a great idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35984548)

I like to think I am the master of all the bacteria in my system. If I don't feed them they die (as I would likely do as well). If they die I can get new ones. Biological slavery!

For a car analogy: The turn of the wheels is a slave to the computer or steering wheel.

This really boils down to a debate about what "self" is. If I was a starfish and I was cut in half. Would the other starfish out of the pair be me? If I killed it, would it be suicide or murder? Are the parts of a machine individuals or just parts of the whole? Would a coffee maker be considered a tool (individual) or an extension of the robot briefly in contact with the body?

If you wanted to use the standard of being "alive" over what is an "individual," then a classification of what it means to be alive is needed. The ability to consume, breed, etc. as normally stated, or the ability to do unexpected behavior? A robot that does no unexpected behavior could be classified as a tool, but throw in some more complex methods and what is expected and what is unexpected may vary upon the visualization ability of each person.

I suppose what it really is, is just a misclassification of the relationship. For the "enslaved" to be considered a "slave," then they must be able to realize an injustice. If they lack the ability to do so, then using them can not be looked down upon. Animals that walk the earth or swim the seas would be considered the "masters" of all the plants. We eat them. We use them to manage our atmosphere. From the perspective of the plants, they eat us given enough time and we balance the atmosphere for them to live.

Re:Not a great idea (1)

isecore (132059) | more than 2 years ago | (#35989428)

Reminds me of that quote by C-3PO:

"Oh my goodness! Shut me down. Machines building machines. How perverse."

Yes, but... (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984090)

Does it run Linux?

Re:Yes, but... (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984194)

Does it run Linux?

I'm sure it can be trained to press the power button on a Linux computer. It probably would also be able to use the keyboard. However don't know if it would be able to read the messages on the screen.

So its beginning.. (1)

David89 (2022710) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984108)

We should stop this kind of research...haven't we learned anything from the Terminator movies?!?

Re:So its beginning.. (1)

piripiri (1476949) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984250)

This is moot since April 21st. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminator_(franchise)#Judgment_Day [wikipedia.org]

Re:So its beginning.. (1)

David89 (2022710) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984366)

Judgement Day itself can change according to different realities, but the main concept is the day that the machines become self aware. How long until this robot decides that he is sick and tired of making coffee or catching balls?

Quitting Starbucks (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984738)

How long until this robot decides that he is sick and tired of making coffee or catching balls?

What does a coffee shop employee or minor-league baseball player do at that point?

Re:Quitting Starbucks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35986184)

Duh. The natural impulse at this point, regardless of an entity's mechanical or biological nature is "KILL ALL HUMANS!". This has been true since ancient Babylonian times and is enshrined & celebrated in the Code of Hammurabi.

Re:So its beginning.. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#35985028)

Damn it, I was moderating and you guys forced me to comment.
There's not much chance of them becoming self-aware when we don't even have a clue what sentience is, or why we're sentient. There not only aren't any theories, there aren't even any hypotheses -- only vague, untested and possibly untestable conjectures such as "it becomes sentient when it reaches a certain level of complexity". If that were true, then surely the Earth itself is sentient, since it as a whole is far more complex than any of its components.

Computers are nothing like brains whatsoever. A computer is simply a very complex abacus, while thought is electrochemical reactions.

Modeling a thing is not the same as a thing. A simulation is not reality; a driving simulator won't actually move, a simulation of an atomic bomb won't release radiation. A model isn't the same as the reality, no matter how precise it is.

Sorry to burst your bubble, guys, but the Terminator is just an enjoyable fantasy. We'll probably create a real artificial sentience in the future, but it will probably be biochemical and certainly won't be electronic.

Re:So its beginning.. (0)

Theotherguy_1 (1971460) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984394)

I really hope you're either trolling or joking ... here's the thing about science fiction movies: they're fiction. That would be like saying "Let's not send probes to Mars! Haven't we learned anything from War of the Worlds!?"

Better Video Title (2)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984178)

"Two balls one robot."

Re:Better Video Title (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35985170)

If Duke Nukem were this robot...


Re:Better Video Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35986630)

I for one do not welcome our ball touching robot overlords who will soon be working at the TSA screening lines.

Dancing with the Robots? (4, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984198)

"In the past, DLR engineers had Justin 'dancing like in Pulp Fiction.'"

The Robopocalypse will begin when they start 'dancing like in Reservoir Dogs'

Re:Dancing with the Robots? (1)

scribblej (195445) | more than 2 years ago | (#35986268)

And now it's making coffee like in Pulp Fiction.

"You don't have to tell me how good the coffee is; I MAKE the fucking coffee. When humans make coffee, they make SHIT!"

OT: Matt Welsh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35984246)

Anybody know why that fortune has been sitting there for two days?

Intel bribing someone?

Catching two balls at once? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35984350)

That's nothing... my wife has been doing that for years!

Next step... (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984396)

When someone asks it to make coffee, it's going to grab 2 balls and say, "Yo! I got your coffee RIGHT HERE!"

Sure, but... (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984442)

Can it fetch the house keys out of its pants pockets and unlock the door while not dropping three full bags of groceries? While its raining?


No (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#35984810)

But in the future, it will be humans doing all the menial boring jobs for our robotic masters anyway... oh wait the future? Who is building cars and who is mopping floors?

The future is here. And it got balls.

Was this developed by AFRICANS? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35984450)

Oh, wait...

That would be just ridiculous, wouldn't it. You all know that a team of Africans couldn't produce such a marvellous machine, yet you keep bleating your "We're all the same" 'diversity' bullshit ad nauseam, as if wishing something were so, makes it so.

Your children are going to hate your guts for what you have done to their country - the hell on earth they are going to be living in, as a white minority, with no all white countries left on earth to escape to, surrounded by hate-filled, arrogant third world parasites...

H.E.L.P.eR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35984644)

Is it just me or does this robot's design remind anyone of H.E.L.P.eR?

Hey Slashdot where's my story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35985278)

I'm playing catch with TWO BALLS RIGHT NOW! Where's my story? How is this stuff what matters?

Captcha is "beater"

Real robots run QNX (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#35985300)

That robot runs QNX. So does BigDog. When the process absolutely, positively has to get control when it's supposed to, QNX is the way to go. It offers a POSIX API, but underneath, it's a tiny message-passing microkernel.

If only the company behind QNX weren't so screwed up. QNX used to be a standalone company. Then one of the founders died, and the company was sold to Harmon, which is mostly an audio company. They then focused on car dashboard systems. Harmon had no clue what to do with a real-time OS company, and sold off QNX to Research in Motion, the Blackberry company.

QNX used to be closed source. Then they issued a free version around 2001 and opened up some of the code. Then they closed the source around 2004. Then they made the whole thing open source (free for noncommercial use) around 2008. Then in 2010, they closed the source again and cancelled the free program. So nobody ports free software to QNX any more, and the developer community is fed up. There's still a non-commercial license, so you can still play with QNX, but few people do.

It used to be possible to run QNX on the desktop, which is useful if you're developing for QNX. But nobody has ported a browser since 2002 or so.

Re:Real robots run QNX (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 2 years ago | (#35989028)

Criminy. This is the coolest thing posted to Slashdot in a while and I have to scroll all the way down here to get an interesting and informative post. The only one it looks like.

HEY-O! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35985498)

German robot juggling two balls? Sounds like a German woman I know! HEY-O! VA-VA-VA-VOOOOOOOOOM! ... nothing? really? Tough room.

'Performant' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35985516)

The end of the last video was the first time I've heard the word 'performant' used correctly, 'performant hardware' referring to the hardware that is performing, instead of an incorrect shortening of 'high performance'.

Will this trigger AI response? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35985554)

"...plays catch with two balls" ...that's what she said?


How to make a robot (1)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 2 years ago | (#35987090)

"The versatility of Justin is achieved by combining the performant hardware with intelligent software."

No shit. I always wondered why that Tinker Toy/Speak-N-Spell robot I built never did much.

Don't get me wrong, this stuff is impressive. But that last statement is so...axiomatic? Banal?

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