Robots in the Current World

Robots in the Current World

A robot is a machine—especially one programmable by a computer— capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically. Robots can be autonomous or semi-autonomous and range from humanoids to industrial robots, medical operating robots, patient assist robots, dog therapy robots, collectively programmed swarm robots, UAV drones such as General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, and even microscopic nano robots.

An autonomous robot performs behaviors or tasks with a high degree of autonomy, which is particularly desirable in fields such as spaceflight, household maintenance (such as cleaning), waste water treatment and delivering goods and services. By mimicking a lifelike appearance or automating movements, a robot may convey a sense of intelligence or thought of its own.

Robots are becoming increasingly common in hospitals and are used in most departments and wards. Some help kids feel less afraid before a major procedure, while others complete the procedure themselves. One of the most popular ways robots help doctors is by performing surgery or making operations easier. These machines make it easier to see into a patient’s body and repair problems faster than human hands. So far, patients have been receptive to robots in the operating room and appreciate their precision and accuracy. Some robots help kids before they have a procedure or after surgery when they’re recovering. As an example, MEDi, or Medicine and Engineering Designing Intelligence, is a humanoid robot that works in the pediatric ward to make doctor’s visits less painful. The robot hangs out with kids in the waiting room and travels with them to various procedures. When kids have the support of a robot friend, they report 50 percent less pain during medical procedures.

The Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown in March 2011 left radioactive debris in the reactor buildings. Workers at the power plant operate the radiation-density-mapping Quince. This robot looks like a stunt R/C car, and it’s equipped with three cameras, a cable cutter and a radiation monitor. It has studded wheels and tracks so it can climb into (and more importantly, out of) places with high levels of radiation. This way, if the area hasn’t been confirmed as safe for humans, the Fukushima staff won’t risk exposure to dangerous levels of nuclear waste and radiation.

Farming is a massive industry and offers jobs to thousands of people. But what if some of those environments could be taken over by autonomous robots? For instance, they could be put in vertical urban gardens, which may begin popping up in metropolitan areas and handle massive amounts of produce growing. Since they’re so automated already, and need minimal attention, these gardens, paired with Harvest Automation’s HV-100 harvesting robots, could provide actual tons of fruits and vegetables for people around the world.

Eatsa, the San Francisco-based restaurant company that takes orders through iPads and dispenses meals through automated machines. Until now, Eatsa has been using this tech to serve up quinoa bowls to health-food fans in its own restaurants. At Cafe X and Zume, both based in San Francisco, robots make lattes and pizzas, respectively. California startup Miso Robotics has built a kitchen assistant robot called Flippy, which from early 2018 is expected to be grilling burgers in CaliBurger restaurants. Flippy doesn’t just have its flipping action on point. It also uses computer vision to track the patties as they grill, turning them out a perfect medium rare — or however a restaurant chooses to cook its burgers — and ensuring they are cooked safely. The robot is built out of readily available parts, such as sensors, cameras and robotic arms. The rest of the work is done by artificial intelligence, which could potentially be trained to perform other kitchen tasks.

With the rapid growth of online ordering and e-commerce in the past decade, the opportunity for automation of order fulfillment has hit new heights. Today’s distribution centers (DCs) and fulfillment centers (FCs) need to add flexibility, scalability and reduced reliance on temporary or unreliable labor pools to meet their operational requirements. Today, there are many types of robots available to help with DC/FC operation tasks. These robots can assist with loading, unloading, sorting, picking, transportation, storage, delivery and audits. Robots helping with these tasks come in all shapes and sizes. They also use different forms of navigation tools such as rail, wire-guided, labels, magnet tape, laser, vision, geo-guidance and others.

As new technology and artificial intelligence improves, conversations about the possibility of robots taking over will continue to rise. But these are perfect examples of how automation, or near automation, can make a massive impact and shine a bright light on the future of the planet.


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