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Animal Robots 114

hamlet2600 writes "The New York Time is running an article all about how animal like robots [Soul Sucking registration required] are beginning to become more imporant in furthering research. For years reseachers have been trying to make humanoid robots, Honda's ASIMO, MIT's M2 are some notable ones. It seems that more and more researchers are turning to the animal kingdom for "simpler" means of locomotion."
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Animal Robots

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  • by StevenHenderson ( 806391 ) <stevehenderson@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:05AM (#10264961)
    Why not just buy a dog?

    1.Robots don't shit or piss all over your new carpet.

    2.Robots don't chew your leather couch.

    3.Robots don't hump your leg (well, maybe with some creative mods they might).

    4.Robots don't need to be fed.

    5.Robots don't need to go to the vet.

    6.If you go on vacation, you can leave the robot wherever.

    I would wager, however, that a robotic dog would be quite a bit less effective in attracting ladies.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:09AM (#10264995) Homepage
    problem is that they have YET to design a sensor like our inner-ear to detect balance and orientation.

    even animals have this "sensor" and the subprocessor systems to not tip over when a leg is lifted before the main processor can detect the change and ask for a balance correction.

    too many projects are looking at monolithic processing, which can not handle a complex thing like walking and balance like an organism can.

    Think about this, an animal like a dog or housecat is certianly not designed to use stairs, yet they adapt quite easily and quickly to handle them even though they were designed for human motion. A dog's rear leg has extremely limited motion compared to a human leg, yet they adapt to running up a stairwell quite easily, and some dogs can adapt to the point that they can climb a ladder!

    MIT had a great program going about 15 years ago about seperating all robotic motion out to seperate processors and allow the main processor to issue interrupts to cause different motion, but I haven't heard from anyone in that program for a really long time. Anyone know if the program is still going?
  • by jmcmunn ( 307798 ) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:12AM (#10265019)

    Yeah, well you just described everything about a dog. Except you left out the companionship they provide. I agree, if you are too lazy to feed, walk, and clean up after the animal then don't get one get a robot. I just hope you never have kids, better buy robot children instead.
  • by StevenHenderson ( 806391 ) <stevehenderson@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @09:59AM (#10265558)
    4 and 5 are completely false statements. A robot consumes electricity, so its battery need to be recharged. Statement 5 assumes your robot will never ever break. If a dishwasher can break, I think it's highly presomputous to said a robot will not. And the repair bill is likely to be big.

    If you dont feed a dog, he will die. If you do not recharge a robot, you have no active robot for a day.

    You take a dog to the vet at times whether he needs it or not (heartworm and flea checks, etc). You'd take a robot to the repair depot if it breaks.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis