Plated along the body, the combination Robotics HAL is supposed to give superhuman forces to the wearer. Yoshiyuki Sankai, Professor at the University of Tsukuba near Tokyo, has developed this "exoskeleton" to help medical staff to more easily raise patients. This second skin enswathed sensors intercepts the orders sent by the brain to the muscles of the back, legs and arms and "increases" the actions of the person who is equipped.
At the other end of the world, in Switzerland, the society Ozwe QB1 has nothing to do with an exoskeleton. This robot is limited to a screen mounted on foot which flutters in all directions. And for cause, the spacecraft equipped with a visual recognition system is programmed to follow the movements of the person standing before him. It belongs to the family of robots-PC. "Keyboard or mouse, simply gestures", summarizes its designers, who will sell their device to a hotel chain which it will host customers.
In the United States, the iRobot manufacturer betting, him, on Ava, a robot Butler roller way R2D2, with there still a screen as a head. AVA may order all terminals in network of the House, with shutters to light, through television, computer or oven.
These three research world quite distant from machines no doubt draw the contours of future robotics. To the chagrin of Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro at Osaka University, which, for its part, designed Geminoid: a double hyperrealist himself with LaTeX skin, hair, an animated face. Inevitably, he offered him a companion of disturbing beauty meets the sweet name of optoelectronic Q2. These two "replicates" how to "blade runner", react when you touch and can support a small led conversation. But their "intelligence" is still very limited. "One day, robots can fool us in making us believe that they are human," dream out loud their creator... now seems somewhat isolated in his divine fantasy: create the robot in his image.
A world between the followers of robots to human form of the advocates of a more pragmatic approach. For some, the humanoid, which symbolize the robot in the collective unconscious, were all plotted future in aid to the person. For others, "errare humanoid is," as any net Fumyia Lida. For the Japanese, who works at the Bio-inspired Laboratory of the ETH in Zurich, "the shape of the robot must adapt to its environment and its use". Exit the fantasy of the Golem: the Androids, "it is communication." "The future, it is the marriage of the computer and the robot", said Frédéric Kaplan, co-founder of Ozwe and creator of the QB1.
Should not be mistaken for target: "the robot should adapt to humans and not the other way around," notes Pierre - Yves Oudeyer, responsible for science of the Inria Flowers team. As the fear of seeing one day the robot more than human, scientists sweep the argument of a back of the hand. "The robot able to do everything, it's science fiction," says Pierre Yves Oudeyer. And for good reason: "when you see the number of years required for a child to acquire language and the walk, it sees that is far from the account with a robot".
Without the expression of emotions, the issue of behavior shows the extent of the progress to reach the level of human. A child who plays hide-and-seek eventually understand that if it hides two times in the same place, it increases the risk of getting caught. The machine is still worlds away from this intuitive behavior. Should artificial intelligence research do a quantum jump. "The level of complexity of the human brain is extraordinary, I doubt that we can approach it one day," slice the French researcher Jean-Claude Heudin, author of "Robots and Avatars".
What makes say to Colin Angle, the pattern of iRobot, "it is a mistake to spend millions of dollars in the hope of developing an Android which will be too expensive to be produced in series, whose capacity will be limited and will be very fragile". His company has made a fortune with a very rustic vacuum cleaner robot, the Roomba, sold 6 million copies. Use made the market.
This is what will probably resolve the debate. In the Japan, the ageing of the population requires authorities and laboratories specializing in robots-companions. Korea, educators robots make their entry into schools, requiring to have efficient machines (for the educational side) and sympathetic (to not frighten children). After 20 years of experience, Colin Angle is convinced: "robots will be accepted only if they can solve problems that arise in humans." After vacuum cleaner-robot Roomba, the family expanded with the scrubber of tiles or the lawn mower. There are also robots deminers Packbot, in service in Iraq and Afghanistan. These military robots, which have the merit of the R & d, eat all the fantasies. But first, the robot of the future will be domestic.
The idea is to reach all the objects of the House. "Any form is likely to become a robot," enthuses the French designer Dominique Sciamma, who speaks of "Robjects." A Chair can be transformed into massage armchair, a desk lamp, with its many joints, can become a room monitoring unit. It can go further still by developing interactivity with the object. Passion for robotics, this stratum College Professor would see "objects take life as in the sorcerer's apprentice." It is not yet there, but the way "Robjects", managed network, seems more realistic than that of the "intelligent" humanoid that science fiction fans still cling.
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