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Ivan Kirigin's views on Robotics & Culture: future. perfect. progress.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

New Humanoid

Under the misleading title 'South Korea claims world's smartest robot', this article describes a new humanoid 'network-based human-like robot'. I'm not sure what is human-like in having a brain communicate wirelessly with a body, but learning is a good thing to stress in developing humanoids, as is the easily scalable computational power of a backroom server.

I generally enjoy development of humanoids, because they can operate in our world more easily, but I do not like the legs, which are totally the wrong approach. There is no 'bounce' in the step that allows for a great deal of energy conservation and true running.

What is entirely missing is a large humanoid development platform for researchers. Robots like ASIMO prove their worth only in corporate branding, because you can't really control the robot as a robotics researcher would want. I wish these companies would learn something from open source software: letting a talented user peak under the hood will only make your product better.

Is Anything Mightier Than This Sword?

A Tech Central Station story about Foster-Miller's Sword robots. I would tend to disagree that counter-terrorist operations can be done well with anything but human special forces operations, but robots like these will change the entire face of war for ground troops.

This is a welcome change, as ground troops really are the last in line to get the full benefits of advanced tech. Compare causality rates in our current efforts to those of carriers or nuclear submarines, where there is far less risk of injury in asymmetric warfare.

The article is interesting in that the unabashed praise seems quite sincere from the author, a former serviceman. I wonder what he thinks of Foster-Miller's biggest competitor in this arena.