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The Year In Robot News 38

itwbennett writes "Who loves robots? You may love them more or less after seeing what 2010 gave us, robot-wise. It's not the rise of the machines yet, but that teddy bear creeped us out."

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The Year In Robot News

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  • by meglon ( 1001833 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @03:46AM (#34571234)
    .... toasters have now been confirmed to intentionally burn toast. They claim the One True God (tm) told them too, and that this is only the beginning of.. something.. that's already happened...

    Fraking toasters.
  • by PatPending ( 953482 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @03:56AM (#34571268)
    Dilbert cartoon []
  • With the advent of robots in factories why is it that we as humans have to work at all. I understand that at one point in history we humans had to make due with our abilities and the combined strength of animals and steam....but now with synthetic materials, auto-processed food, 1080p HD entertainment in 7.5 Surround sound and cars that can travel farther than we can on foot, we have to work at all? Shouldn't we use our combined intelligence to use robots to serve us food, mine our minerals,
    • Re:Future (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @04:26AM (#34571382) Homepage Journal

      With the advent of robots in factories why is it that we as humans have to work at all

      Mostly because we don't have a better way to distribute wealth. For an example of what happens when you put a whole culture on welfare see the Australian Aborigines.

      • by geegel ( 1587009 )

        This is one of the most insightful comments I've read here in a while.

        Another side of the equation is the shift towards a post-scarcity economy. Of course, this is only partial, there are still people dying of hunger after all, but in the long run, the human economy will shift more and more towards artificial needs creation and artificial barriers to simulate scarcity. This type of economy, already visible in the software world, will reach critical mass when rapid prototyping units (3D faxes) will become wi

      • We need to develop one.

        As we
        a) require people to work
        b) cut benefits to people who don't work
        c) remove the jobs people could work at.

        It has the potential to get really, really ugly.

        Starting this month 1 million people a month lose their benefits. That's 12 million by next december when it roughly tops out. That is going to be large, very pissed off group of voters/rioters.

      • by Nihn ( 1863500 )
        with machines making everything we need there will be no need for wealth, but its impossible to explain that to people who WANT to be in forced into servitude.
      • What about Whuffie? []
        • I will have to have a read but at first look it may not cope with situations where individuals will massively over consume because they can. Say you have a culture of alcoholics with free alcohol everywhere. How do you stop them drinking themselves to death?

    • Re:Future (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @04:36AM (#34571410) Journal
      With the advent of factories and outsourcing, it isn't a question of "Why work?" it is more of a question of "Why can't I get a job?"
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Lucky that I work in programming robots and automation system, at least there will be work for me until they build an autonomous robot repair robot... ... I for one welcome our robotic robomechanic overlords

      • by Nihn ( 1863500 )
        That goes to what geegel posted..wealth. Because a hand full of people are hording all the wealth they can the entire system becomes lop sided, meaning companies who are not allowed to horde are forced to nit pick, scrimp and save every dollar they can all the while legally bound by law to maximize profits for share holders. With machines doing all the work humans can live without the stock market and everyone will have access to the luxury only reserved for the greedy and selfish. But like I said before it
      • You are still asking the wrong question. What you should ask is "Why can't I get a job making robots?"
      • by Nihn ( 1863500 )
        no...I asked the right question. you are just missing my point. Once a automatic system is established people will have no need to get up and waste 60% of their life with repetitive and pointless tasks of every day jobs. Instead people would be allowed to actually raise their own children as opposed to sending them to a building for 8 hours letting complete strangers influence the mental processes of susceptible children. People will have no stress because the basics of life will be provided indiscriminatel
  • by bjoast ( 1310293 )
    That Virtual Presence Device looked interesting!
    • by tsa ( 15680 )

      Yes, to me that seems the robot that will have the most chance to become a success in the near future. If you make it a bit simpler and don't use a Segway for its locomotion it will be a lot cheaper. It would be very nice to have that thing go to a shop for me with a shopping list and bring the groceries back home. The fact that I am virtually present in the shop means that I can have a conversation with the shopkeeper about what products to buy. Of course it's cheaper to have someone else do the shopping f

  • Any summary of the year in Robots should include fiction and fact stories about robots. I mean, there's at least one book and several articles on how you may end up marrying a robot, and I find this type of speculation as fascinating as the actual robots themselves. Isaac Asimov may not be writing any new stories of late, but a lot of other authors and stories are trying to fill the gap. I'm just hoping to live long enough to see the Science Fiction become the Science Fact.
  • I only saw advertisements in that webpage. No story whatsoever. Do I miss something?

  • by edwinolson ( 116413 ) on Thursday December 16, 2010 @09:06AM (#34572378) Homepage

    This was also the first year of the multi autonomous ground-robotic international challenge (MAGIC), in which teams of robots collaborated to perform urban recon/search-rescue type missions. This competition focused on autonomous exploration, map building, object recognition, and coordination between both the robots and the human operators. 23 teams from around the world entered the competition, with the top five finalists competing just a few weeks ago in Adelaide, Australia. []

    It was also covered on slashdot: []

    And Team Michigan, from the University of Michigan, took first place and $750k in prize money. (Forgive my obvious bias, I'm the team leader :) []

  • I have to question whether or not a few of those should even be considered robots. Particularly the third one (I think) that was a replacement for you so that you could teleoperate. I am a grad student in robotics and have come to view robots as being those that have at least some element of autonomy. I think that tele-operated robots should start to get their own name, as they are really just complicated tools. Obviously it is a fine line. If the third one took care of avoiding walls and what not for you,
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      Well, the word "telefactor" could mean what you describe, but most telefactors are immobile.

  • Any review of the year in robots should include ROS, which released its first two major distributions this year: box-turtle and c-turtle.
  • Very exciting advancements and to this veteran hard core scifi aficionado, long anticipated advancements. One thing saddens me though and that is the joyfully planned use of them for the sick and elderly. Freeing human workers up for what? Serving burgers and fries? What is a more valuable use of human talent that caring for each other? I can easily envision a future where our fate is to land in a facility where our emotional needs will be met by a robot teddy bear, and our physical needs met by among other

The best defense against logic is ignorance.