July 1, 2008 Engineers built humanoid robots that can recognize objects by color by processing information from a camera mounted on the robot's head. The robots are programmed to play soccer, with the intention of creating a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots able to compete against a championship human team by 2050. They have also designed tiny robots to mimic the communicative "waggle dance" of bees.
A world of robots may seem like something out of a movie, but it could be closer to reality than you think. Engineers have created robotic soccer players, bees and even a spider that will send chills up your spine just like the real thing.
They're big ... they're strong ... they're fast! Your favorite big screen robots may become a reality.
Powered by a small battery on her back, humanoid robot Lola is a soccer champion.
"The idea of the robot is that it can walk, it can see things because it has a video camera on top," Raul Rojas, Ph.D., professor of artificial intelligence at Freie University in Berlin, Germany, told Ivanhoe.
Using the camera mounted on her head, Lola recognizes objects by color. The information from the camera is then processed in this microchip, which activates different motors.
"And using this camera it can locate objects on the floor for example a red ball, go after the ball and try to score a goal," Dr. Rojas said. A robot with a few tricks up her sleeve.
German engineers have also created a bee robot. Covered with wax so it's not stung by others, it mimics the 'waggle' dance -- a figure eight pattern for communicating the location of food and water.
"Later what we want to prove is that the robot can send the bees in any decided direction using the waggle dance," Dr. Rojas said.
Robots like this could one day become high-tech surveillance tools that secretly fly and record data ... and a robot you probably won't want to see walking around anytime soon? The spider-bot.
ABOUT ROBOTICS: Robots are made of roughly the same components as human beings: a body structure with moveable joints; a muscle system outfitted with motors and actuators to move that body structure; a sensory system to collect information from the surrounding environment; a power source to activate the body; and a computer "brain" system to process sensory information and tell the muscles what to do. Robots are manmade machines intended to replicate human and animal behavior. Roboticists can combine these basic elements with other technological innovations to create some very complex robotic systems. There are plenty of robots doing manual work on factory assembly lines, but while those machines can manipulate objects, they do the same thing, along the same path, every time. Other robots are designed to play soccer, or to drive vehicles without human input.
ABOUT A.I.: Robots and computer networks are always evolving intelligent consciousness in popular science fiction. But while modern scientists have made great strides in building computers that can mimic logical thought, they still haven't cracked the code of human emotion and consciousness. There are two prevailing schools of thought on artificial intelligence. Proponents of "strong AI" consider that all human thought can be broken down into a set of mathematical operations. They expect that they will one day be able to replicate the human mind and create a robot capable of both thinking and feeling, with a sense of self -- the stuff of classic science fiction. Think of the robot Number Five from the 80s movie Short Circuit, who suddenly realized, frightened, that he could be "disassembled" by the scientists who made him. "Weak AI" proponents expect that human thought and emotion can only be simulated by computers. A computer might seem intelligent, but it is not aware of what it is doing, with no sense of self or consciousness.