Monday, March 5, 2012

Robots vs. Humans

We continued with our lesson on Robotics this evening, and started off by Googling Isaac Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics" as made popular in his 1942 short story "Runaround". The 3 laws state that:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

These laws are of course fictional at this point in time but it is - none the less - interesting to take note of.

We had a quick talk about the different types of robots in use today:

Mobile Robots

Mobile robots are also known as Automated Guided Vehicles that are primarily used for the work of material transportation in large workplaces such as warehouses, hospitals, container ports and alike. They function in such areas with the help of wires or lasers, by sensing the environment in which they operate.

An advanced version of AGV is known as Self Guided Vehicle (SGV). Such robots are PatrolBot, Speci-Minder, Golfer, Tug, and so on. These robots can be taught navigation separately in a particular environment. Moreover, such robots also have competency to conduct non-sequential tasks in complex environments. Because of this, they are also referred to as intelligent robots.

Industrial Robots
As industrial tasks require accuracy, speed, reliability as well as endurance, industrial robots have potentially replaced humans in performing those tasks. In the last 30 years, robots have attained an edge in automated production lines. Many industrial robots these days perform palletizing as well as packaging, laboratory applications and dispensing jobs.

Such type of robots function at places, which are not safe or inaccessible for humans. An operator placed at a certain distance from the telerobot commands it with the aid of space shuttle. Laparoscopic surgery is one such thing that is performed with telerobots.

Telerobots are also used for exploration of space. Some of the applications of these robots are for construction of spaceships, maintenance of satellites, development of space station and alike. These robots have also found their application in military and are increasingly used by US military.

Robots in agriculture
There are many robots that are still in an experimental stage and have been used to pick apples, gather harvest, plant seeds and transplant seedlings. Moreover, there is one such robot in Australia that is used to shear sheep.

Service Robots
These types of robots are used in Japan and are divided into two categories; one is for professional use and the other one is for personal use. Professional robots are used for military purposes, to perform underwater tasks and clean harmful materials. Personal robots are appreciated for their artificial intelligence and used in house cleaning, caring of elders, entertainment and so on.

We also watched some YouTube videos about various different robots. You can go check them out for yourself:

Lastly we had another little "robot navigation" competition. This time, Amore and Anje walked off with the prize - I nice big chocolate hamper donated by our friendly Sunridge SuperSpar.

This was our last SCC club meeting for the term. The date of our next club meeting will be communicated to the club members in the new term.

Until next time...

Videos are from YouTube
The description of the various types of robots, as well as the Three Laws of Robotics were all found on Wikipedia.