April 23rd, 2010

Robots: 50 Years of Robotics (Part 1)

Today we celebrate the 50th episode of ROBOTS!

For the occasion we speak with 12 scientists about the most remarkable developments in robotics over the last 50 years and their prediction for the next half-century. This 50th special is split into two episodes with the second half airing in two weeks.

Today we’ll be talking to Rolf Pfeifer on robotics in general, Mark Tilden robot toys, Hiroshi Ishiguro on androids, Oscar Schofield on underwater robots, Steve  Potter on brain machine interfaces and Chris Rogers on eduction robots. Our next episode will give you a snapshot view on nano robots, AI, flying robots, human robot interactions, robot business, and space robots.

We’ve also upgraded our website so that you can easily browse through episodes by topic, interviewee, tag or just listen to one of our favorites, so have a look!

You can interact with the ROBOTS community by leaving comments directly under episode posts or on our new sleek forum. To do both, just log-in once in the top bar of the website.

Rolf Pfeifer

Rolf Pfeifer is Professor at the University of Zurich where he directs the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He pioneered a new approach to artificial intelligence (“New AI”), which emphasizes the role of embodiment and argues that thought is not independent of the body, but tightly constrained, and at the same time enabled by it.

Mark Tilden

Mark Tilden is a famous robot inventor who builds new robots on a daily basis. He pioneered a philosophy for making simple and reactive robots and tagged it BEAM robotics (which stands for Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics). Lately, Tilden has been making famous products such as the Robosapien and Femisapien robots at WowWee.

Hiroshi Ishiguro

Hiroshi Ishiguro is professor at Osaka University in Japan where he directs the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory. Ishiguro is most know for his near-real Androids which closely resemble human models, including himself, his daughter and a famous news anchor. Geminoid F, his latest model, was recently featured in the blogosphere.

Oscar Schofield

Oscar Schofield is Professor of Bio-Optical Oceanography at the Rutgers Coastal Ocean Observation Lab or COOL lab at Rutgers University.

Schofield is an expert in underwater robots, taking part in recent projects such as the Scarlet Knight glider which crossed the Atlantic Ocean fully autonomously while dodging fishing nets, strong currents and even the occasional shark.

Steve Potter

Steve Potter is the Director of the Potter Group which is part of the Laboratory for NeuroEngineering, a collective research unit shared between Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Having interfaced robots to in-vitro neurons, Potter talks about the field of brain-machine interfaces and its potential impact in medicine and neuroscience

Chris Rogers

Chris Rogers is a professor of mechanical engineering at Tufts University in the US.

As director of the Center for Engineering Education Outreach, Rogers tours the elementary schools of the world trying to bring engineering and robotics to young children. He has also worked with LEGO to develop ROBOLAB, a robotic approach to learning science and math.

Links:


Latest News:

For more information on this episode’s news, including videos of the PR2 robot folding towels and Honda’s U3-X robot and links to the MIT Personal Robotics group’s Mars Escape game, have a look at the Robots Forum.

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  • Adrien Briod

    Welcome on the new website !

    We hope you will enjoy the new features and the new simplified forum.

    Don’t hesitate to give us some feedback, we will be working on many small improvements in the following weeks.

  • jgermann

    Great show and great new website!
    Keep up the fantastic work!

  • IKE

    You have done an excellent job with the new website, it is more practical, it present your work better and it is more good looking also :D

    The only thing I don’t really like is that there is no categories in the forum. Maybe the old ones could be combined in fewer but having only one doesn’t look practical. I think the optimum is in the middle, fewer categories but more than one. Of course that is a first impression comment, in the long-term maybe this simplistic approach could be better.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Adrien Briod
    IKE wrote:You have done an excellent job with the new website, it is more practical, it present your work better and it is more good looking also :D

    The only thing I don’t really like is that there is no categories in the forum. Maybe the old ones could be combined in fewer but having only one doesn’t look practical. I think the optimum is in the middle, fewer categories but more than one. Of course that is a first impression comment, in the long-term maybe this simplistic approach could be better.

    Keep up the good work!

    Thanks for the comments ! ;)
    We wanted to have all discussions happening in only one place to make interactions as easy as possible, and that’s why we went for the simplistic one-forum approach. If the activity on the forum increases, we’ll definitely consider switching back to more categories.
    Yet, we’ll still find a way to differentiate the news, episode or discussion topics in the list to make navigation more practical.

  • pekinlcc

    I hope there can be a text version of this podcast ;)

  • Markus Waibel
    pekinlcc wrote:I hope there can be a text version of this podcast ;)

    That’s a great idea. However, we have not found a practicable way to produce interview transcripts: Speech recognition AI has progressed a lot but is still not able to deal with the podcast, and since the podcast team is funding Robots from their own pockets for now, we cannot afford a commercial transcription service at this point.

    However, I think the audio format has some great advantages: Hearing a person explain their research conveys much more than just the text. It conveys the passion they bring to their work and if you listen closely there’s a lot to be read "between the lines". Also, if you are driving a car or jogging reading is simply impractical. So keep tuning in! :)