Five Exciting Advances In Robotics

Robotics have come a long way in the past few years. Because of the money and time spent on testing these machines, it takes a while before advancements are seen by the general public. But here is a sneak peek at five current advancements in robotics.

Neural network
Scientists have produced a computer that operates like a human brain. In one study, the computer was allowed to browse the net. Scientists were surprised to see that it seemed to “choose” to look at pictures of cats. Then, they asked the computer if it could come up with its own image of a cat. The image was very accurate.

Another study done with the neural network was an attempt to study mental health issues. They used it to test the theory that schizophrenics’ brains are over stimulated and absorb too much information. Brains, theoretically, pick up the important facts and forget the rest. They had the computer remember every detail. The result was a jumbling together of information just as it is with a schizophrenic human brain.

Prediction
The Nautilus is another thinking computer. This one was devised to be able to predict the future. Scientist fed the Nautilus information that it compiled and analyzed. In one test, it looked for clues about the location of Osama Bin Laden. Scientists already knew the answer, but only gave the computer news stories up to a certain date before Bin Laden was found. This machine was able to predict where Osama Bin Laden had been hiding using news reports. In another test, the computer analyzed clues about mood over time. It also was able to predict the Arab Spring Revolt using Arab news reports. It analyzed the mood of each article and correlated it with the time of year. It predicted that there would be a major dip during the revolt.

Prosthetics
Robotic advances have furthered the field of prosthetics by providing a wider range of movement for amputees. Robotic prosthetic knees allow those with amputations done above the knee to have more control. They are now equipped with a special microprocessor that helps regulate joint resistance during inclines and fluid control.
Prosthetic limbs that are able to move by reading sensors have allowed much more precise movement, such as using the fingers of a prosthetic hand. Sensors read signals from the muscles in the amputees residual limb.

Swarm
Robots can be useful. Swarm robots can be even more useful. These are several robots that are used to complete tasks such as retrieving objects or samples in hard to reach places. These multiple, smaller robots can add more strength to a project without the need to use one massive robot. Flying swarms are specially designed to maintain a certain distance away from each other. This allows them to move in very specific patterns. Also, if one robot is sent out on a job and doesn’t make it, the mission is over. With a swarm, the mission can still be completed if one robot fails.

Movement
Have you ever seen a basketball that can roll itself? A circular robot can by remote control, roll around the floor on its own. It can also be remotely opened to allow the robot to walk on multiple legs.

The Robonaut 2 is the size and shape of a human. It can operate machinery made for humans in environments that don’t sustain human life such as outer space. Currently, Robonaut 2 is doing tests at the International Space Station. If that goes well, it may even see some active duty!

These advancements represent a future generation of robotics, and they are truly amazing. Scientists and technology specialist continue to come up with awe-inspiring advances in robotics every day. There is no doubt that more innovative designs will follow.

Alex Faubel enjoys writing about topics related to the intersection of business and technology in career-focused education programs.