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The Year In Robotics

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the it's-a-wrap dept.

Robotics 44

malachiorion writes "From Google's emergence as a robotics giant to Gypsy Danger's emergence as a giant robot (we can root for), here's my attempt to round up the biggest trends in robotics in 2013. These trends are by no means comprehensive or ranked, but feel free to add your own picks for the year's biggest bot-related breakthroughs and setbacks."

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44 comments

LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45841779)

I'll stick my robotic penis up timothy's asshole.

Remember the year of Linux ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45842633)

Remember that ?

Remember what they say about how Linux gonna take over the world, by storm, that Apple, Microsoft and all other OS vendors gonna be wiped out ?

So what the fuck happened ?

Now they declare 2014 to be the year of the "Robotic" ? LOL !!

Re:Remember the year of Linux ? (2)

lintmint (539531) | about 4 months ago | (#45842831)

Was Google pushing LInux that year? They flog it now as Android and last I heard Android had over 50% of the mobile market. You may also be interested to hear that Andy Rubin who headed up Android is now heading up Google's robotics division.

Google has some serious technical and financial assets they can bring to bear and for you to just dismiss that out of hand reflects poorly on your intellect.

FTA: A License to Hunt and Kill Drones (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#45841839)

$25 and easily the next gift for that hard-to-buy-for brother-in-law.

Re:FTA: A License to Hunt and Kill Drones (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45841983)

Obummer gonna drone ya, brah.

Re:FTA: A License to Hunt and Kill Drones (1)

EligibleToModerate (3482223) | about 4 months ago | (#45844027)

Can we all get together (not to feel alright, not to sing Kumbaya), but to get a license to hunt cold fnord? We won't kill him, because that's inhumane, so we'll practice catch and release.

Re:FTA: A License to Hunt and Kill Drones (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#45845343)

It would certainly be the first hunters I've seen who ever would go after something that could shoot back. (naw, just kidding, the only actual use will be someone shooting down some kid's toy helicopter, and claiming it was legal.)

any sex bots yet? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45841847)

No? Then fuck yourself.

N/A (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45841993)

I'm calling it now 2014 is the year of the Linux robot.

The True Future of Robotics (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 4 months ago | (#45844385)

Sorry to burst everyones bubble, but the true future of robots has been anticipated since the late 70s, by a man named Mark Pauline.
He knows the nature of the robot and nurtures it for a dismal future.
In a bitter message of hopeless grief, I present to you Survival Research Laboratories. www.srl.org
The REAL future of robotics...

Comeback... (4, Informative)

savuporo (658486) | about 4 months ago | (#45842125)

Robots made a comeback - on the moon, after a 37-year hiatus.

Apart from that, the article misses a bunch of very important trends and events in robotics. For example, industrial cooperative robots ( like Rethink Robotics Baster ) etc taking off.

A much better, video laden article here
http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/artificial-intelligence/video-friday-our-favorite-robot-videos-and-biggest-stories-from-2013 [ieee.org]

Re:Comeback... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#45845401)

How does the moon count as a revival, when there are currently multiple multi-year old robots exploring the surface of another planet? I don't like nationalism, but why would Jade Rabbit count as more relevant than Opportunity or Curiosity?

Re:Comeback... (1)

savuporo (658486) | about 4 months ago | (#45848151)

Because its on the Moon, and its quite different from MER/MSL ? This is not about nationalism, this is about robots.

Yutu is a teleoperated machine that responds to commands in about 3 seconds, Mars rovers are also essentially teleoperated but take about 20 minutes to an hour to respond.

No robot had landed on the moon since 1976. I notice the Moon in the sky a lot often than i notice Mars - thats a comeback that counts.

robot necks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45842147)

a lot of the robots I see have 2 cameras in the front of a head that mimic human eyes. I figure with an image processor a robot could literally have eyes in the back of it's head or 360 cameras. Considering this why do they build robots with only 2 eyes in the front and then use motors to turn the head.

Re:robot necks (1)

malachiorion (1205130) | about 4 months ago | (#45845815)

Good point, though a lot of bots, like most of the models in the DRC, also use LIDAR to get a full 360-degree awareness. But check out NASA JPL's RoboSimian. They didn't do this for the first DRC trial, but for the finals next year, they're going to mount cameras around the entire body (it has the mounts already, but the ones in back are empty), so it can reverse direction, go sideways, etc., without having to deal with a neck, or wobbling around to get into a face-forward position.

Whatever happened to NASA's... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 months ago | (#45842167)

Whatever happened to NASA's Cool Robot of the Week website?

Re:Whatever happened to NASA's... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45842305)

Just a guess:
Budget cuts?

The real big news in robotics. (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 4 months ago | (#45842375)

More significant events:

  • Hon Hai Precision Industries, parent of Foxconn, has installed the first 20,000 of the "million robot army" they plan to use in their factories. (Hon Hai makes the iPhone. Apple just does the design, marketing, and some of the software. Hon Hai also makes Sony's PlayStation 3, the Nintendo Wii, Amazon's Kindle Fire, and lots of other stuff.)
  • Amazon bought Kiva Robotics. All those new warehouses Amazon is building will have many robots and few people. Jim Bezos has another robotics company working robots to replace the remaining people.
  • Most of the high-end car makers have demonstrated at least semi-automatic driving. Cadillac, BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Nissan, and even Ford have demos. Tesla is still just talk.
  • The Baxter robot, from iRobot, may bring robotics to short-run production. Cost is low, and it's supposed to be easy to teach.

yeah right Foxconn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45843727)

Hon Hai Precision Industries, parent of Foxconn, has installed the first 20,000 of the "million robot army" they plan to use in their factories.

Yeah right. There is a high cost of designing an assembly line for robots. Humans can be reprogrammed much faster, and with greater ease, than robots. If companies wanted automated assembly lines, they'd build their own robotic factory, and cut Foxconn out.

Re:yeah right Foxconn (1)

EligibleToModerate (3482223) | about 4 months ago | (#45844037)

Unless it were cheaper to outsource it to somewhere with less environmental controls, working controls for the remaining humans... somewhere like.. shit, I can't even think of a place like that. Must not exist.

Re:yeah right Foxconn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45845215)

Chinese workers are becoming too expensive to let them do work that could be done by a robot. Same for Indian workers. They want to buy the same goods that are being produced in the factories that are only able to produce goods so cheaply by spending so little on workers. Nobody in China will work for a dollar a day any more. After India and China you're left with a lot of crappy little poor countries too small to be worth worrying about, and then Africa. The big idea was that Africa would settle down and you'd export all this stuff (starting with car factories) to somewhere like Sudan and pay workers tuppence.

But Africa didn't settle down. So this is the end of the line for such shenanigans. You can't build a modern factory in a place where people still kill each other over stolen food, you'd need to spend more than you'd save just on hiring mercenaries to guard the factory from looters.

So, plan B is heavy automation. Produce ten times more stuff, in the same places as now (you might be surprised how many of those places are in Europe or America actually) but don't hire any additional workers. In fact since you're producing ten times more stuff you can spread the cost of the workers over a lot more product, meaning you're less sensitive to variations in staff costs and can put the factories where the consumers are to reduce transport costs and get closer to JIT production. If the iPhone was made two hours drive from your home then you could order one today, it could be built and sent next day delivery, zero stock.

Re:yeah right Foxconn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45846317)

Heavy automation is as good an idea as off-shoring. If nobody has a job how do companies think we are going to be able to buy the shit that they make?

Re:yeah right Foxconn (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 4 months ago | (#45844141)

Yeah right. There is a high cost of designing an assembly line for robots.

...

If companies wanted automated assembly lines, they'd build their own robotic factory, and cut Foxconn out.

Do you notice the contradiction there? Why would companies risk their own money and time building robotic factories if Foxconn already has the know-how and has already made the investment? Why do companies outsource companies to other clean their offices, then? They could hire the cleaning ladies by themselves!

Re:yeah right Foxconn (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 4 months ago | (#45846197)

If I pay my factory workers 1/100th as much as an engineer costs and it takes a single hour to retrain them on a new project, I can still spending 1,000 engineering hours programming, testing, and debugging a SW update for the robot and come out significantly a head.

Re:yeah right Foxconn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45860305)

And as an added bonus, you pay your engineers to continue making the engineer's job simpler, until you can hire one of the previous cheap factory workers to do it.

Re:The real big news in robotics. (1)

malachiorion (1205130) | about 4 months ago | (#45845877)

You're right, I left out a lot of the potentially game-changing manufacturing news, but mostly because I felt like it was iterative, and we haven't seen the full results, yet. Even Baxter (not an iRobot bot, by the way—Rodney Brooks hasn't done anything with iRobot for years) is a great-seeming bot that isn't really doing much at the moment, and that could get eclipsed by what Google comes up with. I was torn, regarding the autonomous driving stuff. I kind of felt like that was, for the most part, just marketing talk. It's true that companies claimed to have demonstrated at least partially autonomous operation on the Autobahn and such, but doesn't it seem like the real news is still to come? Or, at the very least, that none of what happened this year really trumps the 2012 legislation that cleared robot cars for use in Nevada?

m10d down (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45842417)

gig in front of Visit get tough. I 4ope head spinning ransom for their

we femur (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45845093)

twentytwo butterfly in 5ive telescope has auburn York

The dangers of common words (1)

jandersen (462034) | about 4 months ago | (#45843515)

Language is an amazing thing, especially Australian English; there is hardly a word in the dictionary that isn't somehow a profanity in Australia (http://www.koalanet.com.au/australian-slang.html):

Root (verb and noun) : synonym for f*ck in nearly all its senses: "I feel rooted"; "this washing machine is rooted"; "(s)he's a good root". A very useful word in fairly polite company.
Root rat : somebody who is constantly looking for sex.
Wombat : somebody who eats, roots and leaves (see also root)

meanwhile (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 4 months ago | (#45843573)

while google is jacking istelf over a robby clone, real robots have been doing meaningful work for nearly a half century

Re:meanwhile (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 4 months ago | (#45843965)

Google just bought up one of the biggest players in the market with the biggest budget (namely the military).

Roomba is the winner this year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45843689)

Seriously impressed, for something with no real AI it does an amazingly good job.

Re: Roomba is the winner this year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45843759)

Roomba is a POS vacuum, but does work as a cat vehicle (YouTube it).

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