Robots Don't Wear Belts, Science!

Robots Don’t Wear Belts- Androids

Its officially 2018, which means the time of our robot overlords grows ever near. At least if you listen to Stephen Hawking or Elon Musk you’d be forgiven for believing that. Those guys are geniuses far beyond me and there is certainly plenty of grounds for concern when it comes to artificial intelligence. But the world isn’t going to fall victim to Judgement Day tomorrow. And to reassure you of that I thought that in this edition of Robots Don’t Wear Belts we’d take a look at the current state one of the most elusive of technological developments in robotics: Androids.
Androids are thinking machines that exist in the form of a human being. Depending on who you ask androids are either robots or not. Personally, I subscribe to the all androids are robots, but not all robots are androids school of thought. If you feel like androids are deserving of their own designation, please feel free to make your impassioned argument in the comments section. Now that we’ve had the semantics talk let’s check in with some of the latest advancements.
Perhaps the most astonishing developments of the last year is the huge leap forward robotic agility has taken (yes pun intended).In November of 2017 Boston Dynamics’ ATLAS android put on a bipedal show. Words cannot describe how cool it is to see an android doing literal back-flips so I’ve included the clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRj34o4hN4I If you compare that to this clip of the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge you can se just how far Android have come in a very short span of time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0TaYhjpOfo
And what kind of update on the world of androids would this be if we didn’t check in on Hiroshi Ishiguro the wizard of humanoid robotics. Professor Ishiguro had two androids of note debut last year. The first was Androidol U a female android designed for conversation. Androidol U isn’t exactly a giant leap forward from Ishiguro’s previous creations but with a more compact air servo system and better voice and body movement coordination it is an incremental improvement that shows progress toward more realistic android-human interactions. The second of Professor Ishiguro’s androids to make its debut in 2017 was Geminoid DK, his first non-Japanese android. Specifically the android’s design is based on associate professor Henrik Scharfe of Aalborg University. Geminoid DK is the latest of the Geminoid series and it is impressive to say the least. Now the Geminoid models are not full autonomous (yet) so all of their movements and expressions are controlled by a motion-capture system. But the level of detail and range of expression is just astounding. Don’t take my word for it see for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZlLNVmaPbM
When you see these machines in action its hard not to believe that the world of Blade Runner is just around the corner. And it is confirmed, I have yet to see one of these androids wearing a belt.

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