We’re going the way of the robot

The annual American Association for Advancement of Science conference in San Francisco came into its own this year, especially media-wise.  Many articles have been written on panel discussions.  We’ve learned much about Junior, the autonomous vehicle that will compete in the Urban Challenge.

Here’s an article from Newsday that references Junior as well as other creations discussed last weekend in the City by the Bay:

In the not-so-distant future, a new generation of machines may be driving for us, watching our kids and dispensing medicine, according to a panel of experts assembled at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The remarkable potential has engineers and computer scientists thinking big even as other researchers ponder our increasingly complicated relationships with the machines we’ve endowed with ever-greater artificial intelligence.

“Not only must they be intelligent, but they must be able to go anywhere,” said Robert Full, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

And with nature as a source of inspiration, many are doing just that. Full’s studies of how a cockroach runs, for example, led to the collaborative development of a robot known as RHex and its smaller sibling, EduBot – each equipped with six legs that can independently move forward or backward and climb over a variety of terrains.

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