Robots Reach New Levels of Sophistication
From manufacturing to toys, robots are becoming a part of our everyday lives, whether you realize it or not. The recent RoboUniverse Conference and Expo helps prove just how sophisticated robots have become.
Milo looks like a really expensive, well-made toy, but actually, it’s designed to help teach - from lessons in school to socialization training for children with autism.
“In our first studies, we’ve actually shown that kids only engage with their therapists three percent of the time during a session and they engage with our robot 87 percent of the time," says Richard Margolin of RoboKind.
Jaco is a robotic arm designed to help people with mobility issues better engage with their surroundings. It attaches to a wheelchair allowing users to reach, hold and manipulate things they otherwise might not be able to.
“We’re doing a bit what the wheelchair is doing for mobility, so from point A to point B, but in our case, it’s for manipulation. So they can drink a glass of water from the faucet, they can open doors, but now our users are doing crazy things like shaving themselves with the arm, putting mascara on," says Francois Boucher of Kinova.
Baxter is a robot for use in manufacturing plants. But, why would a robot in manufacturing plants need fake eyes? Well for two reasons actually: for the safety and the comfort of the human workers around it.
“The eyes will move in either direction to indicate which direction the robot is about to move so if I’m an operator working next to it and I haven’t trained, the robot and I don’t know where it’s going. The eyes help tell me which direction it’s going to go," says Eric Foellmer of Rethink Robotics.
On the comfort side, developers say having a robot with eyes that looks more human, even kind of cute, helps ease the transition for those not accustomed to working with a robot and those who might otherwise even be a bit frightened.