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The Year In Robotics 44

malachiorion writes "From Google's emergence as a robotics giant to Gypsy Danger's emergence as a giant robot (we can root for), here's my attempt to round up the biggest trends in robotics in 2013. These trends are by no means comprehensive or ranked, but feel free to add your own picks for the year's biggest bot-related breakthroughs and setbacks."
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The Year In Robotics

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  • $25 and easily the next gift for that hard-to-buy-for brother-in-law.
    • Can we all get together (not to feel alright, not to sing Kumbaya), but to get a license to hunt cold fnord? We won't kill him, because that's inhumane, so we'll practice catch and release.
    • It would certainly be the first hunters I've seen who ever would go after something that could shoot back. (naw, just kidding, the only actual use will be someone shooting down some kid's toy helicopter, and claiming it was legal.)

  • Comeback... (Score:5, Informative)

    by savuporo ( 658486 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @10:17PM (#45842125)

    Robots made a comeback - on the moon, after a 37-year hiatus.

    Apart from that, the article misses a bunch of very important trends and events in robotics. For example, industrial cooperative robots ( like Rethink Robotics Baster ) etc taking off.

    A much better, video laden article here []

    • How does the moon count as a revival, when there are currently multiple multi-year old robots exploring the surface of another planet? I don't like nationalism, but why would Jade Rabbit count as more relevant than Opportunity or Curiosity?

      • Because its on the Moon, and its quite different from MER/MSL ? This is not about nationalism, this is about robots.

        Yutu is a teleoperated machine that responds to commands in about 3 seconds, Mars rovers are also essentially teleoperated but take about 20 minutes to an hour to respond.

        No robot had landed on the moon since 1976. I notice the Moon in the sky a lot often than i notice Mars - thats a comeback that counts.

  • Whatever happened to NASA's Cool Robot of the Week website?
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @11:00PM (#45842375) Homepage

    More significant events:

    • Hon Hai Precision Industries, parent of Foxconn, has installed the first 20,000 of the "million robot army" they plan to use in their factories. (Hon Hai makes the iPhone. Apple just does the design, marketing, and some of the software. Hon Hai also makes Sony's PlayStation 3, the Nintendo Wii, Amazon's Kindle Fire, and lots of other stuff.)
    • Amazon bought Kiva Robotics. All those new warehouses Amazon is building will have many robots and few people. Jim Bezos has another robotics company working robots to replace the remaining people.
    • Most of the high-end car makers have demonstrated at least semi-automatic driving. Cadillac, BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Nissan, and even Ford have demos. Tesla is still just talk.
    • The Baxter robot, from iRobot, may bring robotics to short-run production. Cost is low, and it's supposed to be easy to teach.
    • You're right, I left out a lot of the potentially game-changing manufacturing news, but mostly because I felt like it was iterative, and we haven't seen the full results, yet. Even Baxter (not an iRobot bot, by the way—Rodney Brooks hasn't done anything with iRobot for years) is a great-seeming bot that isn't really doing much at the moment, and that could get eclipsed by what Google comes up with. I was torn, regarding the autonomous driving stuff. I kind of felt like that was, for the most part, ju
  • Language is an amazing thing, especially Australian English; there is hardly a word in the dictionary that isn't somehow a profanity in Australia (

    Root (verb and noun) : synonym for f*ck in nearly all its senses: "I feel rooted"; "this washing machine is rooted"; "(s)he's a good root". A very useful word in fairly polite company.
    Root rat : somebody who is constantly looking for sex.
    Wombat : somebody who eats, roots and leaves (see also root)

  • while google is jacking istelf over a robby clone, real robots have been doing meaningful work for nearly a half century

  • by Boawk ( 525582 )
    What about the porn industry? Don't they kind of lead the herd in coming up with clever uses for such technology?
  • Gypsy Danger is a giant mecha (Jagger to be precise) and not a robot. :P

  • Unless 3D printers, CNC machines and laser cutters don't count, I would say 2013 was filled with robots.

Real wealth can only increase. -- R. Buckminster Fuller