Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Robotics Input Devices Science Technology

Suitable Technology's Telepresence Robot Lets You Roll Remotely 51

Posted by timothy
from the when-a-roomba-loves-an-lcd-very-very-much dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Suitable Technologies today unveiled a telepresence robot based on technology from Willow Garage, a robotics research lab. Beam (as in 'Beam me up, Scotty' — no, really!) implements a video chat function on a computer you can remotely drive around via Internet-based control. Beam, which stands 62 inches tall and weighs 95 pounds, adheres to four operational imperatives, which are intended to mimic human interaction and behavior: reciprocity of vision (if I see you, you must see me); ensuring private communication (no recordings of what goes on); transparency of technology (keeping the interaction natural); and respect social norms (don't push or shove Beam!). But the big question is: Does Beam also adhere to Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics? Let's hope so!"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Suitable Technology's Telepresence Robot Lets You Roll Remotely

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/we-need-a-fourth-law-of-robotics-stop-fingering-my,11148/

  • How would a robot assist me while doing ecstasy out in the wilderness?
    • How would a robot assist me while doing ecstasy out in the wilderness?

      Well, it could follow you around flashing multi colored patterns on the screen and pumping out some of that Uhnn-sss-ah! Uhnn-ss-ah! house music you candy kids seem to enjoy...

      • by Genda (560240)

        Oh, oh, I got one... it could cuddle with you, because under the influence of MDMA, you can have a deep emotional/spritual experience rubbing up against a toaster...

    • by rubycodez (864176)

      you send your Beam to buy narcotics from the pusher Beam who gets it from the Beam at the lab house. the cops get confused, they all look alike and when you arrest a Beam they wipe their memories.

  • Example: someone sustains an injury to an arm or leg such that amputation is the only way to save their life. How do all the nuances of directly or by omission of action harming a human get resolved to the satisfaction of the robot? How much explanation does an experienced medical expert need to give a robot to "convince" the robot that the course of action the surgeon is going to take is correct? How do the personal choices of the injured human enter into the decision process?

    Seems easy until you start app

    • by Genda (560240)

      Seeing as the latest incarnation of Watson is going to advise diagnoses for physicians, I could see and AI administrator managing selections from a library having some kind of Swiss Army Knife selection of medical responses with a human being validating or overriding the selection choices. For instance, the machine arrives on the scene and immediately begins doing a broad spectrum scan to assess the condition and needs of the patient/victim. It takes vitals and identifies potential cause for patient status

    • Many of Azimov's stories were about the actions of robots in such a situation. They would behave erratically in order to avoid being forced to violate their laws, but if ever in a situation where it was impossible not to do so, a low-level failsafe caused them to shut down (And in a most untidy manner, usually destroying the positronic brain entirely: Not a clean shutdown). The theory being that if the laws have failed, the best action is inaction. Several of the robots met their end in this manner.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      How do all the nuances of directly or by omission of action harming a human get resolved to the satisfaction of the robot?

      Are you trolling or just making a bad Asimov joke? Robots are just machines. They don't have positronic brains, they don't have three laws, and they don't think. If you think your computer is more sentient than a doorknob, you don't know much about computers.

      If it was a joke, I woosh you luck on the moderation... I thought it was lame.

  • Wait. Didn't I already see this on an episode [tvfanatic.com] of The Big Bang Theory?

    • by deamos13 (2739865)
      Shel-bot was the Texai robot from Willow Garage, Suitable Technologies is a spin-off from Willow Garage to commercialize the Texai, Beam(the robot you see here) is the evolution of Texai(aka Shel-bot). So yes, you did already see something like this on Big Bang Theory.
  • by uigrad_2000 (398500) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @04:51PM (#41470047) Homepage Journal

    We have a robot much like this at work already. It's a vGo [vgocom.com], and can be driven around to meet with other people at the office.

    How does this new one compare?

    • We have a robot much like this at work already. It's a vGo [vgocom.com], and can be driven around to meet with other people at the office.

      How does this new one compare?

      Um... proprietary docking station?

  • Here I was thinking it was finally a dice rolling robot, anything to take away the pain of repetitive stress syndrome of trying to roll 20.

  • ... is fuckin' creepy!

    Looking at the screenshots, [deviceguru.com] all I hear in my head is this tinny, flanging voice screaming "EXTERMINATE!" over and over...
  • On the main website they don't really mention anything about interaction, but in the deviceguru link they state it outright that you "have the freedom to move and interact with people as if you were there". Isn't this just a glorified version of a mobile chat device. I remember the episode of TBBT where Sheldon built one similar, but it did have the "hands" so to speak which I consider "interaction" and not just "chatting" which is what this one appears to be.

  • Great! How do you smoke remotely?

    • by Jeremi (14640)

      We have stairs.

      Not to worry, Beam supports both "shover" and "pusher" modes.

      • by wierd_w (1375923)

        I don't see how it can support both modes, lacking hands. I can see it shoving around the blind people, but without hands, it can't push bread down their throats.

        Regardless, it will still surely protect you from the terrible secret of space.

  • having read all of the asimov books, including those written under commission by the Asimov Estate, i'm a bit concerned about this obsession with the famous "3 Laws of Robotics". later books came up with the "New Law" Robots, and several books covered a character called "Caliban", who was a robotic experimental "No Law" Robot that was framed for murder, escaped, and through naive, direct and untainted access to the world on which it was created, came up with its own ethics - its own "Laws", in pretty much

    • My take on the matter is that the 3 laws are much publicized because they are conveniently shifting the focus of the robotic revolution to unlikely scenarios. You wouldn't put a 5 year old at the control board of a nuke plant, you wouldn't put unrestrained AI on a robot.

      Repeat after me:
      The problem is not with robots who magically get alive and disobey orders.
      The problem is with robots who follow them.

  • Meh... A better solution would be to get a minion to carry your camera/monitor combo on a chain around their neck.

    It'd be like you were Dr. Theopolis [wikipedia.org] and they were Tweaky.
  • The Three Laws are completely irrelevant here.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      First, no robot in existance has a brain. They have computers. Computers aren't brains. Second, no robot in existance is equipped with Asimov's three laws. Thirdly, these aren't robots, they're primitive surrogates. [wikipedia.org]

  • In fact is says right on the announcement page [willowgarage.com] that "Beam is no robot". So no need to be 3 laws compliant.

    I'm still looking for a use case for telepresence robots. It needs to be a situation where all of these things apply:

    1) I need to "freely" move around where I'm not. There are lots of situations where I would want this. However the situational awareness of these things is very poor. I drove one around and ended up rolling around the Y-Combinator offices without knowing it. For a tour of a place, offic

  • They hatin'

  • Sorry. I had a mental picture of a robot sitting there with Zig Zag papers and a baggie.

    I know this stuff makes you lazy, but come on folks .... getting a robot to roll them for you?

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Sorry. I had a mental picture of a robot sitting there with Zig Zag papers and a baggie. I know this stuff makes you lazy, but come on folks .... getting a robot to roll them for you?

      Have you seen how poorly most people roll a joint? The lazy ones won't be rolling, they'll be using hitters (I hate hitters but the young folks love them, say joints waste pot... yeah, the way THEY roll, sure). A joint-rolling robot would be a boon to most reeferheads.

  • by koan (80826)

    Boss via robot: Bob let me talk to you over here in my charging cubical

    Bob: K...

    Boss via robot: Bob I'm going to have to let you go, and if you come back and shoot up the place... you will be billed for the robot repair.

    Bob: ~

  • Now, see, I would add a 12-inch linear actuator to the neck connection so that I could make my virtual presence taller. Everyone knows that most women want a guy who is between 5'8" and 6'2". So when I meet a cute female virtual presence, I can make my presence the appropriate height. Of course, I've now opened the door to other uses for linear actuators but that's a separate issue.

You're already carrying the sphere!

Working...