After two of the biggest technological revolutions in the last decades, the personal computer and the Internet, there will come a day for the third technological revolution with robots in the focus. Defined in two words as a ‘Humanoid Robot’, this intelligent anthropomorphic machinery is inspired from nature and is an engineering demonstration of how humans can recreate artificial forms and intelligence using the concepts of nature. Building humanoid robots is a process to put human characteristics into an artificial body by mimicking the nature and not to recreate humans.
A humanoid robot can learn everything about anything. It is a robot designed to imitate the human behavior, able to think and act like a human. Built with artificial skin, eyes, ears, head, hands, arms, legs, and an artificial brain, a humanoid robot can reproduce emotions, can take decisions, and learn about objects and how to interact with the environment.
Can we live with these human-like robots?
Imagine you’re in the 80’s or in the early 90’s where you don’t have a personal robot able to remind you to take your medicine, to socialize and play games, or to keep you connected with your family.
The robots have a larger mission, and I write this article with the hope to be clear from start to the end how we can live and why we have to live in the same place with a robot.Social dimensions have grown once with explosion of intelligence. From computers to mobile devices such as smartphones or tables, our social life is in continuing changing and ready to adopt new challenges. We can’t imagine the life without smartphones, without computers, without cars, and soon without robots.
Used for many years in our homes, especially in the kitchen, the robots are classified into different categories. From simple cutter mixer robot to a personal assistant that reminds us when to take our medicine or to do a certain thing. These intelligent machineries are already part of our life and in a subtle way the modern life is associated with these gadgets.
How much a humanoid robot can influence our lives?
A humanoid robot cannot and will not replace a human. These robots are just useful tools for certain tasks. All these tasks that will be transferred from humans to robots will make our lives more enjoyable in a world where the time seems to be compressed.
Humans grow up having pets in the house, but how we will react when a new pair of artificial eyes will look and follow us? In Japan, the country with the most robots in the world has been extensive studies to know the effects of robots on humans. The results show that people can live together with robots; especially older people had improvements in what concerns the interaction with robots.
However, it is difficult to predict how much a robot will affect the life. The result depends on how opened to new we are, and certainly today’s children will not have big problems of accommodation with a humanoid robot as a nurse or just for entertainment. Once with the introduction of courses about robots in schools, robotics competitions and school camps with robots as decoration makes easier the transition to one day when we will share the couch with a robot.
The birth year of humanoid robots was in 1973 when a team consists of mechanical and electrical engineers start to build the WABOT-1, the first full-scale anthropomorphic robot in the world. The human-like robot was born in the labs of Waseda University in Tokyo under the direction of the late Ichiro Kato. WABOT-1 was an intelligent robot at his time. Its features include eyes, ears, an artificial mouth, a limb-control system, a vision system, and a conversation system in Japanese language. The robot was able to communicate with humans, and using a long list of sensors, it was able to measure the distance and direction of an object.
With an estimated mental faculty of a one-and-half-year-old child, WABOT-1 has the ability to walk, catch objects, and transport objects using a series of touch-sensitive sensors.
If WABOT-1 was the first humanoid robot, who is the most advanced humanoid robot in our days?
Most advanced humanoid robot in the world has a tall of 130 cm(4 ft 3in), weight 54 kg(119 pounds), and is called ASIMO. ASIMO was created by Honda engineers and has up to 34 Degrees of Freedom, ability to walk, run, and perform tasks in the same manner as a human. It can move right, left, up or down with optimum movements and a great flexibility. Using lightweight materials to manufacture the body and a series of 34 servo motors, ASIMO has smooth movements of the limbs.
Used at home, the robot can grasp objects with a maximum weight of 0.5 Kg in each hand and can operate for a continuous time of 1 hour. At a price around 1,900,000 EUR ($2,500,000) the robot is very expensive, but it’s an inexhaustible resource for entertainment, information, or as discussion partner.
At this price is hard to believe that too many people will have it in their homes. Once the manufacturing price will be cut, the humanoid robots will hit the market at an affordable price and will reach in a larger number in people’s homes. Even it’s the most advanced humanoid robot in the world, ASIMO is still far away to be our friend, our nurse, our housekeeper, or nanny for children.
Why we need a humanoid robot?
Human is the most advanced species in nature, while a humanoid robot is the most advanced robot between robots. A humanoid robot imitates human behavior, think and act like a human. It doesn’t have any status or reputation in human society and we aren’t in a race with them. These are our slaves from now until the end.
Our behavior with a pet or a robotic pet tends to take place in the same manner. Since a humanoid robot looks and act like a human, our behavior tends to be in the same manner as a human, but in a totally different frame. More than that, the nature has endowed us with arms, hands, and legs. With these arms, hands, and legs we write, eat, cook, feel, walk, run, climb mountains, play games, and the list goes to infinity. A humanoid robot has arms, hands, and legs. We make complex tasks with our hands, while the anthropomorphic tools can do complex tasks with its hands.
Can we personalize the humanoid robots?
The robots has perception. They can see, taste, smell, hear, and feel, all of these senses after many years of research. All these senses plus the ability to learn allows a robot to recognize the environment, work together with a human, and communicate using sounds or facial expressions.
Humanoid robot as a friend
Humanity has long been fascinated by technology, a result in how much the world can be changed in a very short time. We’re dependent on technology and many people are intrigued by the fact that we want to make machines that look and act like us, while we’re on Earth plenty of humans. The world is changing and we once with it.
The smartphone has become the agenda that we can’t separate and remember us the program, using the computer we’re in contact with anyone and anywhere in the world, using social networks we share images and videos from our lives. Between two people occurs the technology. We’re friends with technology and technology is friend with us. Next step is to use robots to share our thoughts, to hear our sorrows, to look at favorite show, or to play games.
Risks using humanoid robots
It’s difficult to establish the risks that we assume using robots. More than that, when technology exceeds our intelligence is almost impossible to make predictions. Scenarios that induce us in a state of uncertainty are present in SF movies. It’s unlikely that we will ever get to be entirely subjected to robots and this idea will remain just a movie scenario. Once the robots are endowed with senses and with the basic three robotic laws, there are fewer chances to make us worry about these machines.
The intelligence will escape from human spectrum, and as long as everything is based on clearly defined laws, it is only for our good and benefit. Intelligent machinery will work for us as slaves and we will live together with them.