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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Looking Back Into The Future of Robotics 2006 - 2040

Futurists Ian Neild & Ian Pearson, editors of the BT Technology Timeline 2005 including some robotics predictions have been quite good in foresight according to my recent research. (My comments in brackets).
Comments and contributions are very welcome!
  • Global domestic robot numbers passes 4M (yes, confirmed by IRF statisitcs)
  • Global industrial robot numbers passes 1M   (yes, onfirmed by IRF statisitcs)
  • Totally automated factories (yes, watch video below)

    • Fractal shape-changing robots (Cubelets)
    • Insect-like robots used in warfare (prototypes, watch video below)

    • Robotic dolls and pets account for 10 % of domestic telecomm traffic (no, smartphones are leading)
    • Self monitoring infrastructures using smart materials and sensors (some projects)
    • Micromechanical gnomes (research projects)
    • Robots for cleaning, washing fetch and carry in hospital (yes, watch video below)

      • Robot dance tutors (Partner Ballroom Dance Robot, 2005)
      • Nanowalkers, nanoworms, nanofish (nano pioneer Adriano Cavalcanti)
      • Mechanical intelligence using MEMS and NEMS (early stage)
      • Android robots used for factory jobs (prototype HRP-3 Promet MK II)
      • Fleet of garden robots for plant and lawn care and tidying (ome prototypes)
      • Robots for cleaning, washing fetch and carry, in office (prototypes)
      • Robot pest killers (some prototypes)
      • Housework robots - fetch, carry, clean & tidy, organise etc.
      • Robots for guiding blind people (First car drive of blind person 2011)
      • Cybernetic use in sports (Ossue Flex-foot, Otto Bock C-Leg)
      • Robots for cleaning, washing, fetch and carry, in home (Roomba, Scooba, prototypes)
      • Self diagnostic self repairing robots (?)
      • Actuators resembling human muscles (Polymer Actuators research)
      • Insect sized robots banned in gardens due to effects on wildlife (UAV restrictions already discussed)
      • Robotic delivery for internal mail (AGVs)
      • Robotic exercise companion (TOPIO robot play ping-pong with humans)
      • More robots than people in developed countries (very optimistic)
      • Android gladiators (EU FET Flagship project Companion Robot for Citizens)
      • GM and robotics converge, GM used to make organic robots (artifical meat projects)
      • Micro-Mechano fractal construction kit
      • i-Robot style robots with polymer muscles and strong AI

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