Robotics is an interesting field because it combines people’s creativity and problem-solving skills to produce fascinating robots however with that element of interpretation, people can have many mixed views on how robotics should go forward in order to get the long waited robotic revolution.
Personally, I do not think that we will ever get to see robots work about in our everyday environments based on the advancements in robotics. That is not because of a lack of skill in the field. It’s because I don’t think we are going about making robots the right way.
So I have come up with 4 principles that a successful robot needs to have in order for it to be something we see in our everyday lives.
- A robot needs to be as mechanically simple as possible
Personally, I think robots need to be simple. No gears, no belts; Just a collection of the necessary actuators to control each individual joint.
Complex robots like this , look cool but for the robotic revolution, the key is simplicity and focusing more on larger details
Currently, with our limitations in motor technology, we can see some robots use belts and gear mechanisms to which I still would not be fond of.
2. Robots need more advanced, more powerful actuators
In order to get mechanically simple robots, we need stronger actuators. Currently, robots rely on hydraulic to lift their robots due to limitations in electric motors however with hydraulics comes the added complexity.
3. Robots should have AI that learns via imitation
I’m not convinced that our current level of AI in robotics is enough to make them practical enough to be used in day-to-day lives.
Imitation learning AI which learns from how humans/animals react to instructions or environmental factors can be key in making robots more useful.
Just observing how animals move around has limitations and our bodies being as complex as they are means that we miss out on many key details. If we simply measured each joint in the body along with many other factors and made bipedal robots learn from that, we may be more successful in having intelligent robots.
4. Robots need to be cheap
This one goes without saying. If you want the robotic revolution then not only do robots need to be as good or even better than animals but they also need to be cheap.
With that, I guess my 4 principles are over. As a whole, the key takeaway is that robotics needs to be as basic as it can be then you work on making it intelligent and versatile. The need for gears and complex mechanisms can be over if more money is put into building stronger actuators that can be used in an array of different robots.
Many times I see researchers jump towards having complex AI robots when their robot itself can’t even walk normally and I think that’s just silly. Once you get a structurally stable and strong robot that is versatile..then you can implement complex AI.