Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Cyberbionic Critturs in your future?

just watching some robot clips over on YouTube and suddenly I have had this revelation, this epiphany moment, where you could see the large span in capabilities between these machines, even with the vast amounts of technology available to the builders.

The little guy doing flips and cartwheels shows what a bit of clever hardware with fast servos can do, and shows what the bigger robots will be capable of. It's a machine that applies balance and fast actions to a level, idealised surface.

The "doggie" robot shows what happens when you take software that teaches itself as it goes, but isn't particularly good with balance, yet recovers well from a non-ideal surface and remains shiny side up throughout the two exercises.

And the "kitchen robot" needs idealised surfaces, a painstakingly programmed representation of the objects it's using, and a program to perform the actions in sequence.

I'm watching these clips and it's almost irritating, it's embarassing, that so many different capabilities can't exist in the one robot, that it can't fluidly move within a non-ideal environment and deal with objects on an "as met" basis. It's very frustrating, and I realise that it's the same feeling I get when I watch some of the more prototypical animals out there, when I see an insect that can decimate any organic matter in its path - and it's stopped because of a few pieces of gravel in the path.

What these three (and other) videos represent are the "prototypical animals" of the robot species, the fusion creatures will be made from these, and they will be fast and balanced and precise in their actions. And they aren't far away now.

I keep harking back to nanotechnology one day being used to replace the systems of our bodies one molecule at a time, with "biggerbetterfastermore" materials. That once we replaced the neural systems of the body, we will be able to download a person from one enhanced body to another. And, given the feedback and task-performing capabilities of our brains, these will be very good work machines.

Additionally I have a vision/spatial awareness system for robots which would see a Cybionic that was as graceful as a ballerina, as deadly as a martial artist. A vision/spatial system that could augment our own abilities, and the abilities of any machines we've given some of our programming to.

So I'm watching today's robots knowing what they will be in another few years' time, and I'm impatient. Bring on the cyberbionics please!

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