US Military defense contractor Boston Dynamics unveils it’s latest robot dog named spot. Spot is a four-legged robot designed for indoor and outdoor operation. It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. Spot has a sensor head that helps it navigate and negotiate rough terrain. Spot weighs about 160 lbs.
A robot is a mechanical or virtual artificial agent, usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by a computer program or electronic circuitry. Robots can be autonomous or semi-autonomous and range from humanoids such as Honda’s Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility (ASIMO) and TOSY’s TOSY Ping Pong Playing Robot (TOPIO) to industrial robots, collectively programmed swarm robots, and even microscopic nano robots. By mimicking a lifelike appearance or automating movements, a robot may convey a sense of intelligence or thought of its own.
The branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing is robotics. These technologies deal with automated machines that can take the place of humans in dangerous environments or manufacturing processes, or resemble humans in appearance, behavior, and/or cognition. Many of today’s robots are inspired by nature contributing to the field of bio-inspired robotics. These robots have also created a newer branch of robotics: Soft robotics.
From the time of ancient civilization there have been many accounts of user-configurable automated devices and even automata resembling animals and humans, designed primarily as entertainment. As mechanical techniques developed through the Industrial age, there appeared more practical applications such as automated machines, remote-control and wireless remote-control.
The word ‘robot’ was first used to denote fictional humanoid in a 1921 play R.U.R. by the Czech writer, Karel Čapek. Electronics evolved into the driving force of development with the advent of the first electronic autonomous robots created by William Grey Walter in Bristol, England in 1948. The first digital and programmable robot was invented by George Devol in 1954 and was named the Unimate. It was sold to General Motors in 1961 where it was used to lift pieces of hot metal from die casting machines at the Inland Fisher Guide Plant in the West Trenton section of Ewing Township, New Jersey.
Robots have replaced humans in the assistance of performing those repetitive and dangerous tasks which humans prefer not to do, or are unable to do due to size limitations, or even those such as in outer space or at the bottom of the sea where humans could not survive the extreme environments.
There are concerns about the increasing use of robots and their role in society. Robots are blamed for rising unemployment as they replace workers in increasing numbers of functions. The use of robots in military combat raises ethical concerns. The possibilities of robot autonomy and potential repercussions have been addressed in fiction and may be a realistic concern in the future.
The word robot can refer to both physical robots and virtual software agents, but the latter are usually referred to as bots. There is no consensus on which machines qualify as robots but there is general agreement among experts, and the public, that robots tend to do some or all of the following: move around, operate a mechanical limb, sense and manipulate their environment, and exhibit intelligent behavior — especially behavior which mimics humans or other animals. In practical terms, “robot” usually refers to a machine which can be electronically programmed to carry out a variety of physical tasks or actions.
There is no one definition of robot that satisfies everyone and many people have their own. For example Joseph Engelberger, a pioneer in industrial robotics, once remarked: “I can’t define a robot, but I know one when I see one.” The two ways that robots differ from actual beings are, simply stated, in the domain of cognition, and in the domain of biological form. The general consensus is that a “robot” is a machine and not a being simply because it is not intelligent (it requires programming to function), regardless of how human-like it may appear. In contrast, an imaginary “machine” or “artificial life form” (as in science fiction) that could think near or above human intelligence, and had a sensory body, would no longer be a “robot” but would be some kind of “artificial being” or “cognitive robot”, (see also cyborg).
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, a robot is “any automatically operated machine that replaces human effort, though it may not resemble human beings in appearance or perform functions in a humanlike manner.” Merriam-Webster describes a robot as a “machine that looks like a human being and performs various complex acts (as walking or talking) of a human being”, or a