1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Different schools of design: B.E.A.M.
Mark Tilden is a recognized roboticist that has challenged the status quo. He is one of the pioneers together with other bright scientists asking themselves the concepts behind a robot. Only scratching the surface, we can take a look at the laws he propose:
1. Protect thyself.
2. Feed thyself.
3. Move thyself to better real estate.
There is a lot to learn from Tilden and why is it so challenging this design philosophy. Here there are some videos online.
We discussed about the impact of introduction of robotics, but somehow we left outside all the new opportunities that this brings to the game. Some robots are specifically designed to interact with other workers. For example, Baxter has many degrees of freedom and also has a human form factor to move precisely and while helping on tedious tasks. But of course there are many other improvements in hazardous environments like the car industry.
What would happen if the car is in the function of self driving and a door is opened? There should be a way to establish these different behaviors…
A finite–state machine (FSM) or finite–state automaton (plural: automata), or simply a state machine, is a mathematical model of computation used to design both computer programs and sequential logic circuits. It is conceived as an abstract machine that can be in one of a finite number of states.
First developments opening the path to robotics were self operating machines, called automaton. They opened the door to more complex systems, with a quick evolution from remote controlled systems to analog neural robots to digitally programmable robots.
The word ‘robot’ was first used to denote a fictional humanoid in a 1921 play R.U.R. by the Czech writer, Karel Čapek. During the play, robots reduce cost of manufacturing to one fifth of what it used to be and it triggers a sequence of apocalyptic events.
Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti – Image from Wikipedia
Some of the things we have seen this week are the different definitions of robotics. If we take a glance at wikipedia:
Robotics technology consists of machines that can:
Sense – Sensors, or feedback devices, allow information about the machine’s surroundings to be recorded as electronic values.
Think – This electronic data is then used in complex circuits programmed to produce signals at the other (output) end of the circuit.
Act – Acting is the most obvious part of robotics technology. The electronic signals that were produced as a result of sensing and thinking then control whatever the robot is designed to do, like lift a sick person, make a facial expression, or control the motors that allow it to navigate around an obstacle.
One “expert” definition of a robot is given as “a machine with at least three axes of motion (e.g. wrist, elbow, and shoulder), an attached tool, and the ability to be reprogrammed for various tasks.” Not a bad definition, if you like industrial robots.
THINK + SENSE + ACT
In any case, among the different classifications there is a huge interest for these machines. Both from the business point of view, just by considering the fast growing of their adoption rate in the industry sector. Or from the human interaction, where we see that there are sectors like health care that are having breakthrough discoveries thanks to robots.
State of the art
Every year there is an annual Challenge, where all teams around the world try to get over a series of obstacles. The complexity of these tasks have been increasing year after year. Here is a video of the actual competition from 2015: