You may often read stories in the news or have conversations at work about how robots will become part of our lives in all manner of ways, from the workforce to personal services. While this is a legitimate subject to discuss, the use of the word “future” can be somewhat misleading. In fact, robots are not only part of our future, but they are also part of our present lives. Some areas where robotics are prevalent today may surprise you.
You probably are aware that surgeons are using computers in certain surgical procedures. However, you may not understand the extent of the robotics that are involved. At NYU Langone’s Robotic Surgery Center, surgeons are using the da Vinci Si, an advanced surgical robot, to perform minimally invasive surgery. The surgeon places his fingers into a console in order to control the three manipulative arms and one camera arm of the da Vinci while looking through a monitor of the view inside the patient. Every movement of the surgeon is replicated exactly by the robot.
Although basic factory line robots have existed for a while, we’re now starting to see some new kind of worker style robots. These new robots designed for work are called collaborative robots, or CoBots. These robots collaborate with humans in the workplace. Easy to program by people with little prior programming experience, these robots are inexpensive and are an excellent choice for small businesses. Even large companies are utilizing CoBots, most famously Amazon, who employs collaborative robots for package sorting in their warehouses.
Everyone has heard of the Uber self-driving vehicle accident and has repeatedly seen the automobile company Tesla, known for their efforts to produce self-driving cars, in the news. This type of publicity has led to many not taking these types of vehicles seriously. In fact, though, there are many companies currently involved in developing sophisticated self-operating vehicles, and even the government may become involved. According to this story in Reuters, the current government administration is considering implementing a pilot program through the NHTSA to conduct real-world testing on the road of a limited number of self-driving vehicles.
Robots may even be soon taking part in stunts. Tech Crunch reported a story about Disney Imagineering developing a robotic stand-in for their animatronic figures. Based on an earlier experiment entitled Stickman, the new Stuntronics robots will be used as substitutions for moving actions of primarily stationary animatronics. The Stuntronics will perform airborne stunts and are autonomous in their operation. While these robots are to intended for use as doubles for other artificial figures, it is conceivable that similar robotic figures could eventually be used to emulate people in movies.
It is exciting to think of all the potential services that robots can and will be providing. It is apparent that soon robots will be fixtures in all aspects of our lives. The results will be an increased standard of living across the board, which will benefit us all.
Here’s another article which explores other ways technology has changed the medical industry!