We’ve been thinking about them for a while…
Hiro, a humanoid robot developed by professor Osamu Hasegawa at the Tokyo Institute of Technology has been proclaimed a ¨world first¨for its ability to ¨learn¨from its environment and research relevant information on the web.
While Hiro seems to be an impressive robot, he’s not in a league of his own. Experts in the field have been focused on developing these types of ¨learning¨robots for quite sometime. However, the fact that these types of robots are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, emphasizes the need to get the word on the street! “I want people to know we already have this kind of technology. We want people with different backgrounds and in different fields to discuss how it should be used, while it is still in its infancy” states professor Hasegawa in an article on Hiro.
As expressed in the article, this type of robot could be useful for a wide range of purposes— domestic, traffic control, and even earthquake detection. Dr. Vincent C. Müller, the research coordinator for the project EUCogII, was one of 400 experts who attended the 2011 European Robotics Forum earlier this year in Västerås, Sweden. Müller believes cognitive robots could hold the key to solving situations like Fukushima, whose unfolding events cannot be predicted. “We need to focus on developing intelligent, flexible, biologically inspired alternatives. Robots of the future need to be less like laptops and more like cockroaches, adaptive and low power”.
Paolo Dario, head of one of the European Commission’s 2011 Flagship Initiatives: Robot Companions for Citizens, was another expert present in Västerås. He describes the robots his team is aiming to develop as ¨apprentices able to learn from experience, to understand the goals of their actions, to adapt to contingencies and to anticipate, in a developmental and evolutionary way, the intentions of their human companions.¨