mattbell: (Default)
This video reminded me of how a lot of our dreams about robotics over the last 50 years are coming to fruition.  Ideas that have been dreams long deferred are starting to roll out quickly in research labs.  There are of course significant barriers to deploying some of these systems for consumer use but I expect that to change quickly.  

Watch a team of autonomous helicopters build a primitive structure:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W18Z3UnnS_0 -- lj sucks... youtube embed is broken


The developments appear to be coming quickly now; I was very excited by Google's recent ambitious yet underreported Manhattan project to build a truly robust self-driving car.  
Here's what I think will make the robotics revolution happen easily:

- Complex semi-automated production lines that can build robotic toys like the Pleo, which has almost 2000 parts -- This will make production costs for complex robots low enough to be viable for home use.
- 3D vision technologies like the PrimeSense camera (which is used in the Kinect I'm so fond of) -- This will enable robots to easily see and maneuver through a wide variety of environments.  A lot of hard 2D vision problems are easy in 3D
- Standards for robotics software systems such as Willow Garage's ROS, which will simplify the development of hardware and software ecosystems for robotics.  Willow Garage isn't trying very hard to make money despite being for-profit, but they are helping create the substrate to give birth to a new industry.   

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Anyway, I'm home sick.   Time for a nap.

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mattbell

February 2011

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