Drones are the Robots We’ve Always Dreamed About, but Better   2

0 Robot
/ˈrəʊbɒt /
A machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer: Robots have been a dream and source of fascination for humans ever since Asimov first wrote the three laws of robotics. Having an artificial being serving us has always seemed appealing to humanity and because of this we have striven for decades to turn it into a reality, but maybe somewhere along the way we made a mistake. Most all of our efforts have been concentrated on creating a humanoid robot that will serve humans. But why?
Let’s start with a little history. Robots were first introduced as a concept by the Czech science fiction writer Karel Čapek in his play R.U.R. in 1920. In the play he presented them as simplified artificial human beings which were used for labor.The origin of the word comes from the Slovak robota which literally means labor. After that, authors such as Isaac Asimov took the concept and developed it further into what we think of today as robots – human-like machines made of metal whose main purpose is to aid us in all sorts of tasks.
ASIMO, one of the most well-known humanoid robots
Expressions of this idea can be encountered throughout human art and science in the last century. They have simply become part of our culture, but in a very narrow definition of the word, as evident by the way it is expressed. When you ask a person to define what a robot is, most will not think of the machine somewhere in a factory putting their car together or the computer program going around and indexing all the pages of the internet so you can find them later on Google, even though both of these fit the primary definition of a robot. They are artificial, automated, programmed objects whose sole purpose is to in some way replace humans in certain tasks. No, what most people would probably think of is probably some form of either R2 D2 or a humanoid weapon a la Terminator. Because the public perception is such, a humanoid robot is bound to be a success. Lots of  time, money and research is going into the development of a humanoid robot to aid people in their daily life, but with the current state of technology in areas such as UAVs, we have to ask ourselves whether this is really the most practical format for a robot.
A robot in an industrial setting
For the sake of this article we will take and explore the idea of a robot as a physical entity which aids humans and not all the other forms of automation, such as computer programs, which can also technically be categorised as robots. The first and main thing such a machine should be able to do is interact with the physical world. It must be mobile and in some way capable of affecting other objects. If we go further into specifics, a robot should be capable of performing tasks which would normally have to be performed by humans and ideally it should be capable of handling orders. Seeing as how we interact with the world through our human body, it is natural for us to think that the most intuitive shape for a robot is the humanoid one. Hands are simply so good for grabbing things and legs are quite amazing at getting us to places, but in reality they may not actually be the most efficient method for a machine, since machines can be built into any shape or form. Moreover, the manual dexterity of a human hand and leg has proven quite difficult to replicate.
TOPIO, a humanoid robot, playing ping-pong
When we start talking about creating realistic artificial humanoids, apart from technical issues, ethical issues also arise. To create an actually efficient humanoid robot, it has to very closely resemble a human being. So when these humanoid robots finally become mainstream, we will all be walking around giving orders to human-like beings who want absolutely nothing in return. We will be perfectly fine with the idea of these same creatures who look so much like us doing everything for us, for next to nothing. It’s not a long way from slavery. Getting humans comfortable with the idea of ordering around other beings which closely resemble them is a dangerous game. We can once again get to the point where we feel comfortable giving orders to other humans quite easily. So from both a physical and ethical standpoint the question arises Is the humanoid shape really the best one for a robot?
The Boston Dynamics Cheetah, the fastest land-moving robot.
 Looking at the trends in current technology the answer is an almost definitive No. ASIMO, one of the most well known and developed robots is hardly helpful and in reality can serve as little more than a toy.  Boston Dynamics’ Cheetah, while quite impressive in its own right, can do little more than run very fast and carry things on its back. It is also not capable of handling every terrain, making it even more impractical. While the Cheetah is not really a humanoid robot, it has still been developed with the end goal of functioning similarly to a living being. These are just some of the more public examples of robot development, but the truth is that hardly anyone has gone far beyond what they have achieved and there is a good reason for that. Natural mechanisms are very hard to recreate through artificial methods. Just look at how difficult it is for us to develop true artificial intelligence.
 If we look through history, we see that most technological progress has not been made by emulating natural mechanisms, but rather by gradual evolution of technology to a point where we find a completely new artificial way of dealing with a problem. These solutions are often completely unconnected to how similar mechanisms work in nature and were practically impossible for anyone to foresee before they actually came about. It’s just how the natural evolution of technology works. How did we achieve flight? By creating flapping bird-like wings? No, propellers, fixed wings and jet engines put us in the sky. Did anyone know 50 years before the Wright brothers that planes would be invented. Highly unlikely. As technology develops, it gives us new capabilities. It then takes someone with foresight and imagination to use those capabilities and enable us to do something which was previously impossible.
 It seems that nowadays whenever someone is talking about the tech industry and innovation a mention of Apple and Steve Jobs is inevitable. Apparently it really is, since we are going to do one as well. Mr. Jobs was a visionary and a genius. He knew that with the right technology and vision anything was possible. That is why he succeeded in bringing computers into everyone’s pockets. Many tried before him, but no one truly managed, because they didn’t have the right vision. Everyone else tried to literally make pocket PCs. Steve Jobs knew that a whole new way of looking at things was necessary to make this possible, so he waited. Eventually the technology came about that made the iPhone possible. Because he understood its potential, Mr. Jobs managed to create the first truly successful smartphone, but twenty years earlier no one could probably imagine that this would be the way computers would go into our pockets. We were all probably imagining something more along the lines of a miniature keyboard and a tiny screen. Why? Because before the right technology is invented, people are only capable of thinking in terms of what they are already familiar with.
 Similar is the case with drones nowadays. A century ago, when robots were first coined as a term, the obvious way for them to exist was as humanoid machines. How could they perform human tasks if they weren’t humanoid? Yet with the recent developments of UAV technology we see that drones are becoming quite adept at replacing us, or doing things which are normally quite difficult for humans. Apart from human tasks, drones can also fly, meaning they can do so much more than a humanoid robot ever could. Imagine the following scenario: the construction site of a tall building has to be inspected. A view from the top of the construction is necessary. A humanoid robot would have to do the task in the exact same way a human would: Climb up the building and look up from there. That’s great but there are several problems. 1. Programming a humanoid robot to perform every single action associated with climbing and inspecting a building is immensely complicated since it includes lots of physical interaction with the environment. 2. Climbing a building is dangerous and takes a lot of time 3. Similarly to a human, this robot would be restricted to a ground view. A regular commercially available quad would have none of these problems. In terms of programming all it takes is for it to climb through the air and take pictures or video from certain positions. The drone will get to the top much faster and is in no danger of falling, since its main function is to fly. Finally, it can take shots from a viewpoint, which no human could ever reach.
 Some might say that drones can’t really be the robots we’ve dreamed about since they can’t really interact with the physical world. Right now that is partially true. Soon, however, it’s not going to be. Projects such as Flyver are enabling all sorts of machines and sensors to be attached to drones so they can perform various tasks. Even then, however, we still won’t have true robots. A drone equipped with a stereoscopic camera would still need a human to control it in order to map an area. A uav with a spray gun could never spray a field of crops against disease by itself.
Drones can’t perform tasks autonomously.. yet. This is where Flyver comes in. Our mission is to makes drone programmable, so they can start replacing us in basic tasks, making things cheaper and doing things for us which we never could on our own. All the technology is there. It just needs a brain to power it. Right now, drones are little more than toys, but they have the potential to become the robots we’ve always wanted and so much more. They just need.. a little programming. Recent Posts5 Most Interesting Drone Applications, May 2015Guide: How to Start Programming Your Drone5 Drone Applications that Inspire, Excite and Provoke Discussion Leave a Comment Cancel reply
You must be logged in to post a comment. Drones are the Robots We’ve Always Dreamed About, but BetterRobot/ˈrəʊbɒt /A machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer: Robots have been a dream and source of fascination for humans ever since Asimov first wrote the three laws of robotics. Having an artificial being serving us has always seemed appealing to humanity and because of this we have striven for decades to turn it into a reality, but maybe somewhere along the way we made a mistake. Most all of our efforts have been concentrated on creating a humanoid robot that will serve humans. But why?Let’s start with a little history. Robots were first introduced as a concept by the Czech science fiction writer Karel Čapek in his play R.U.R. in 1920. In the play he presented them as simplified artificial human beings which were used for labor.The origin of the word comes from the Slovak robota which literally means labor. After that, authors such as Isaac Asimov took the concept and developed it further into what we think of today as robots – human-like machines made of metal whose main purpose is to aid us in all sorts of tasks.ASIMO, one of the most well-known humanoid robotsExpressions of this idea can be encountered throughout human art and science in the last century. They have simply become part of our culture, but in a very narrow definition of the word, as evident by the way it is expressed. When you ask a person to define what a robot is, most will not think of the machine somewhere in a factory putting their car together or the computer program going around and indexing all the pages of the internet so you can find them later on Google, even though both of these fit the primary definition of a robot. They are artificial, automated, programmed objects whose sole purpose is to in some way replace humans in certain tasks. No, what most people would probably think of is probably some form of either R2 D2 or a humanoid weapon a la Terminator. Because the public perception is such, a humanoid robot is bound to be a success. Lots of  time, money and research is going into the development of a humanoid robot to aid people in their daily life, but with the current state of technology in areas such as UAVs, we have to ask ourselves whether this is really the most practical format for a robot.A robot in an industrial settingFor the sake of this article we will take and explore the idea of a robot as a physical entity which aids humans and not all the other forms of automation, such as computer programs, which can also technically be categorised as robots. The first and main thing such a machine should be able to do is interact with the physical world. It must be mobile and in some way capable of affecting other objects. If we go further into specifics, a robot should be capable of performing tasks which would normally have to be performed by humans and ideally it should be capable of handling orders. Seeing as how we interact with the world through our human body, it is natural for us to think that the most intuitive shape for a robot is the humanoid one. Hands are simply so good for grabbing things and legs are quite amazing at getting us to places, but in reality they may not actually be the most efficient method for a machine, since machines can be built into any shape or form. Moreover, the manual dexterity of a human hand and leg has proven quite difficult to replicate.TOPIO, a humanoid robot, playing ping-pongWhen we start talking about creating realistic artificial humanoids, apart from technical issues, ethical issues also arise. To create an actually efficient humanoid robot, it has to very closely resemble a human being. So when these humanoid robots finally become mainstream, we will all be walking around giving orders to human-like beings who want absolutely nothing in return. We will be perfectly fine with the idea of these same creatures who look so much like us doing everything for us, for next to nothing. It’s not a long way from slavery. Getting humans comfortable with the idea of ordering around other beings which closely resemble them is a dangerous game. We can once again get to the point where we feel comfortable giving orders to other humans quite easily. So from both a physical and ethical standpoint the question arises Is the humanoid shape really the best one for a robot?The Boston Dynamics Cheetah, the fastest land-moving robot. Looking at the trends in current technology the answer is an almost definitive No. ASIMO, one of the most well known and developed robots is hardly helpful and in reality can serve as little more than a toy.  Boston Dynamics’ Cheetah, while quite impressive in its own right, can do little more than run very fast and carry things on its back. It is also not capable of handling every terrain, making it even more impractical. While the Cheetah is not really a humanoid robot, it has still been developed with the end goal of functioning similarly to a living being. These are just some of the more public examples of robot development, but the truth is that hardly anyone has gone far beyond what they have achieved and there is a good reason for that. Natural mechanisms are very hard to recreate through artificial methods. Just look at how difficult it is for us to develop true artificial intelligence. If we look through history, we see that most technological progress has not been made by emulating natural mechanisms, but rather by gradual evolution of technology to a point where we find a completely new artificial way of dealing with a problem. These solutions are often completely unconnected to how similar mechanisms work in nature and were practically impossible for anyone to foresee before they actually came about. It’s just how the natural evolution of technology works. How did we achieve flight? By creating flapping bird-like wings? No, propellers, fixed wings and jet engines put us in the sky. Did anyone know 50 years before the Wright brothers that planes would be invented. Highly unlikely. As technology develops, it gives us new capabilities. It then takes someone with foresight and imagination to use those capabilities and enable us to do something which was previously impossible. It seems that nowadays whenever someone is talking about the tech industry and innovation a mention of Apple and Steve Jobs is inevitable. Apparently it really is, since we are going to do one as well. Mr. Jobs was a visionary and a genius. He knew that with the right technology and vision anything was possible. That is why he succeeded in bringing computers into everyone’s pockets. Many tried before him, but no one truly managed, because they didn’t have the right vision. Everyone else tried to literally make pocket PCs. Steve Jobs knew that a whole new way of looking at things was necessary to make this possible, so he waited. Eventually the technology came about that made the iPhone possible. Because he understood its potential, Mr. Jobs managed to create the first truly successful smartphone, but twenty years earlier no one could probably imagine that this would be the way computers would go into our pockets. We were all probably imagining something more along the lines of a miniature keyboard and a tiny screen. Why? Because before the right technology is invented, people are only capable of thinking in terms of what they are already familiar with. Similar is the case with drones nowadays. A century ago, when robots were first coined as a term, the obvious way for them to exist was as humanoid machines. How could they perform human tasks if they weren’t humanoid? Yet with the recent developments of UAV technology we see that drones are becoming quite adept at replacing us, or doing things which are normally quite difficult for humans. Apart from human tasks, drones can also fly, meaning they can do so much more than a humanoid robot ever could. Imagine the following scenario: the construction site of a tall building has to be inspected. A view from the top of the construction is necessary. A humanoid robot would have to do the task in the exact same way a human would: Climb up the building and look up from there. That’s great but there are several problems. 1. Programming a humanoid robot to perform every single action associated with climbing and inspecting a building is immensely complicated since it includes lots of physical interaction with the environment. 2. Climbing a building is dangerous and takes a lot of time 3. Similarly to a human, this robot would be restricted to a ground view. A regular commercially available quad would have none of these problems. In terms of programming all it takes is for it to climb through the air and take pictures or video from certain positions. The drone will get to the top much faster and is in no danger of falling, since its main function is to fly. Finally, it can take shots from a viewpoint, which no human could ever reach. Some might say that drones can’t really be the robots we’ve dreamed about since they can’t really interact with the physical world. Right now that is partially true. Soon, however, it’s not going to be. Projects such as Flyver are enabling all sorts of machines and sensors to be attached to drones so they can perform various tasks. Even then, however, we still won’t have true robots. A drone equipped with a stereoscopic camera would still need a human to control it in order to map an area. A uav with a spray gun could never spray a field of crops against disease by itself.Drones can’t perform tasks autonomously.. yet. This is where Flyver comes in. Our mission is to makes drone programmable, so they can start replacing us in basic tasks, making things cheaper and doing things for us which we never could on our own. All the technology is there. It just needs a brain to power it. Right now, drones are little more than toys, but they have the potential to become the robots we’ve always wanted and so much more. They just need.. a little programming.Leave a Comment Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.We’re not around right now. But you can send us an email and we’ll get back to you, asap.