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Top Robotics Stories of 2017

Bicentennial Man, Android that was based on Isaac Asimov's I, Robot novel.

Robotics have been with us for more than 50 years starting with robot arms used in auto assembly lines in Japan. Although the earliest ones were for the fabrication of nuclear weapons in Oak Ridge Laboratories in the United States.

This goes to show that robots are here to stay and will form part of our civilization with utilizations ranging from auto factories all the way to the surgery room in hospitals.

Recently, Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to a robot named Sophia. This has generated morality issues reminiscent of the “I Robot” series by Isaac Asimov. The dichotomy between good and bad are but the two sides of the same coin.

This are exemplified by movies such as Bicentennial Man wherein a benign robot was presented as contrasted with “Terminator” that was shown in 1984 wherein an AI (Artificial Intelligence) entity called Skynet gained self-awareness.

This is more evident with the opposing sides having their champions with Elon Musk advocating a more conservative approach to AI and Mark Zuckerberg supporting pushing the boundaries as far and as fast as possible.

This year, Robotics has achieved the what other science fiction novels have not been able to conceptualize. These developments have been the most popular in the news in 2017. These are the following:

Dermal sensory for Robots:

Stanford University is currently developing artificial skin that is for the use in prosthetics but can also be utilized for robots. This artificial skin can enable robots to perform mundane to sensitive tasks. 

This makes interaction and interface with humans possible and scientists from the University of Washington and the University of California are endeavoring to achieve such I the very near future.

Human-like mobility and agility

 Boston Dynamics is currently at work with giving robots the ability to perform human movements that are more complicated than what the current robots have. This can also be applied in combination with “Origami-Muscles” wherein servos and pneumatics will be replaced with artificial muscles that can perform and achieve human – like movements.

Next – Level AI

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the shrines of modern technology is now developing through its CSAIL Department a robot that responds to human scolding by autocorrecting itself. This is the result of AI research achieving a faster pace with each new discovery or development.

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