Robot Revolution is going to be much bigger than the Computer Revolution (Sept. 05, 2009) — Scientists are developing robots a lively, caring machine that could keep an eye on the kids, clean the house, fold your laundry, drive your cars, carry weapons, do bad things and scold the occasional rude guest.

Robot“This revolution is going to be much bigger than the computer revolution, said Jacky Baltes, a professor and developer of robot called Archie at the University of Manitoba.

Prof. Baltes and his team are developing Archie like Jetsons –that could assist the disabled, the elderly and everyday families in tasks around the home.

They will require huge leaps on two fronts. One, scientists will need to develop a robot that can move quickly and with agility on two feet. Secondly, robots will have to possess the type of artificial intelligence that will allow them to see their opponent, the ball and the field and make split-second decisions about which way to run or kick.

Toyota is working on the second front and has made a robot that can run seven kilometres an hour on two legs that move very much like a human’s. It can even stay balanced if given a push or shove.

A Rosie The Robot would need to get around furniture and would have to have supple hands capable of everything from grabbing a door handle to pouring a drink into a paper cup without any spills.

Prof. Baltes feels robots will become a lot more limber as new, smaller technologies come along to replace the various electric motors currently used to move robot limbs and joints.

On the second front, at Robocup and other competitions, teams of smaller robots play soccer. They can detect the ball, move toward it and kick or shove it toward the net, all without remote controls. Robots also are getting better at wall-climbing competitions.

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