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The Information and Technology Society

PhotoRobotics is a fairly new division of technology that deals with the construction, design, operation and application of robots and consists of combinations of i.e. electronics, mechanics and computer programming (Daintith & Wright, 2008). Nowadays robots are very versatile, smart and clever, which leads to the fact that robots are one of the largest growing and most evolving technological devices in the world. Saving labour, improving quality, preventing human-error mistakes and performing dangerous jobs are four important reasons to use robots. Let´s also not forget that robot´s main agenda is to make human´s life easier and safer. As of today robots are used in many various environments such as factories, homes, hospitals, educational institutions, restaurants, armies and many others.

Robots are primarily built using available computer technologies that allow robots to perform all kind of different tasks in a matter of seconds. These tasks can have different complications and agendas. The tasks can be as simple as, for example, cleaning and waxing the floor or making cocktails and cleaning dishes. The tasks can also be extremely complicated like spotting an enemy aircraft or performing an operation on human beings or animals. Robots can have any look and shape and can be any kind of size; it primarily consists on the robot´s main purpose. For example, the robots used in auto- manufacturing factories can be bulky and look more like an industrial crane than a human, but the robots that are used as servants in restaurants can be fairly small and resemble humans.

Due to the fast evolving computer technologies the humanoid robots, like ASIMO (figure 1) and Actroid (figure 2), can perform many tasks that can only be done by humans. ASIMO, the robot that have cost Honda more than 100 million dollars to develop, is approximately the size of the person and can perform such tasks as: running, jumping, dancing, recognizing faces and even connecting to the Internet. However, the most important feature of ASIMO is that it can perform some actions autonomously with no interaction from the human (Singer, 2009).

Fig1  Fig2 
 Figure 1 (Honda Motor Company, 2011) Figure 2 (Divirgilio, 2006)

Actroid is a robot developed by Osaka University and as can be seen on the figure 2 it is incredibly lifelike; it basically looks more like a real living person than a robot. This robot can understand around forty thousand phrases in four different languages and provide answers to more than two thousand questions that it might receive. Additionally, Actroid can respond in limited ways to body language and tone of voice by changing its own facial expressions. In ability for Actroid to perform motions the programmers used software that has similar graphic user interface to Microsoft Excel, where each column represents a particular joint of the robot and each row is a unit of time. Actroid robots come in two flavours such as either male or female, and are available for rent already (Singer, 2009; Wikipedia, 2013).

With the development of such robots like ASIMO, Actroid and other similar humanoid robots one can see that the computer technologies are evolving really fast and something that was so impossible to implement and develop few decades ago is indeed very possible today. One can only figure what will be implemented in the near future, but with the help of everyday improving artificial intelligence we can be assured that soon the robots will be able to think and make decisions just like humans autonomously. (Christian, 2011) Some of these robots already exist on the market. They can not only run, jump and dance, but they can also provide intelligent speech conversations, patrol houses, call police or doctors in case of emergency and even perform an orchestra. (Singer, 2009)

The robots are also highly used by many military organizations across the world. The military robots can perform various dangerous tasks that can prevent loss of life of the soldiers. Some of the positive aspects of these robots are that they do not have fear towards enemies, they do not get tired and they are always on guard. There are many operations that can be achieved by using robots instead of humans in military world. Defusing mines, assisting soldiers, detecting enemy, attacking and defending a base are some of the operations the military robots can perform. There is no ideal size of military robots; they come in different shapes and sizes. It all depends on the job they have to perform. For example, unmanned aerial vehicles, more known as drones, provide reconnaissance that is so important in military planning. Drones are basically aircrafts that have no human pilot on the board. These vehicles can be remotely controlled miles away by the operators and can prevent a death of the pilot in case the plane gets attacked by the enemy. (Singer, 2009) (Grabianowski, 2012)

However, the most used robots today are the industrial ones. These robots are used in workplaces such as factories and corporations every day.  They are operating in all kind of workspaces like vehicle and computer factories, food and drink factories, agriculture, obtaining resources, etc. They put vehicles together, get oil and coal, cut grass, make food, etc. Most of these robots perform the tasks a lot easier and faster than the people (The Economist, 2013).

As for domestiFigure 3 (Dredge, 2007)c robots that are available today it is no secret that the most used are the one that resemble the vacuum cleaners (Figure 3, Dredge, 2007). These robots are fairly inexpensive for majority of population and completely hassle free. They are fully autonomous meaning that they can perform the cleaning job completely by themselves without interaction from the human (except on/off switch of course). You just place the robot on the floor and in 20-30 minutes your house floor will be completely dust-free and shiny. The fair price and hassle free operations result in high sales of such robots. These robots are extremely popular in Western European countries and according to Lorenza Della-Santa, a senior analyst at Euromonitor International, robotic vacuum cleaners have recorded the largest value growth in real terms of all small appliances in 2012 (Della-Santa, 2012).

As we can see the robots are highly used in many different environments. The robots can serve various jobs such as serving and protecting people, building and constructing various things, performing operations, defusing mines, etc. If computer technologies will evolve as fast as they are evolving now it is clear that robots will become a part of daily life for most of population.

Author: Daniel Multykh, computer science student at Reykjavik University

Bibliography

Christian, B. (2011). The Most Human Human: What Talking With Computers Teaches Us About What It Means To Be Alive (1st ed.). New York: Doubleday & Co Inc.
Daintith, J., & Wright, E. (2008, October 9). A Dictionary of Computing (6 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Della-Santa, L. (2012, December 20). Robotic Vacuum Cleaners: Where There's Savings, There's Hope. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from Euromonitor International: http://blog.euromonitor.com/2012/12/robotic-vacuum-cleaners-where-theres-savings-theres-hope.html
Divirgilio, A. (2006, October 9). Actroid DER2 Fembot Robot Available For Rent. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from Bornrich: http://www.bornrich.com/actroid-der2-fembot-robot-available-for-rent.html
Dredge, S. (2007, August 22). iRobot launches new Roomba 500 series robot vacuum cleaners. Puny earth dust stands no chance! Retrieved October 12, 2013, from Tech Digest: http://www.techdigest.tv/2007/08/irobot_launches.html
Grabianowski, E. (2012). How Military Robots Work. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from How Stuff Works: http://science.howstuffworks.com/military-robot.htm
Honda Motor Company. (2011, November 8). Honda Unveils All-new ASIMO with Significant Advancements. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from Honda Worldwide: http://world.honda.com/news/2011/c111108All-new-ASIMO/photo/pages/05.html
Singer, P. W. (2009). Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century (1st ed.). New York: Penguin Books.
The Economist. (2013, September 7). Our friends electric. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21584455-robotics-new-breed-robots-being-designed-collaborate-humans
Wikipedia. (2013, September 5). Actroid. Retrieved October 12, 2013, from Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actroid

 
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