Skynet is Here: 3D Printing Robots
by Joris | February 2, 2011
I have this little hobby, and I call it Skynet search. I basically look around the internets for signs of an emerging Skynet. What? Have I ever said anything negative about your hobbies? Gardening? Or collecting stamps? Can your hobby save humanity? Well today is a big day in Skynet search because I’ve just heard about RoboEarth. RoboEarth allows robots to build on and learn from the experiences of other robots. The project aims to be a internet for robots. Currently every robotics project has to ”teach” their robot to navigate in the real world. By collecting and centralizing information on objects, navigation and recognizing objects Robo Earth does this for everyone. Potentially each robot connected to the network will instantly be as capable of navigating our world as the network is. This also frees up a lot of robotics researchers time so they can concentrate on making the robots better.
Scientists and researchers from the Technical University of Eindhoven, Philips & the universities of Stuttgart, Munchen, Zaragoza & Zurich have just made a huge breakthrough with RoboEarth. They have managed to get the TechUnited AMIGO robot (pictured above) to download all the information it needs for a specific task and then carry out this task. The task seems simple, the robot had to pick up and serve a bottle of water to a person. The AMIGO was sucessful in doing this autonomously. You can see that below.
But, why are you reading about this on a 3D printing blog? Not only do we love robots but we are also working on 3D printing robot parts. If you would combine Robo Earth, with genetic algorithms that automatically design robots and 3D printing you have a very powerful combination. It would be a system that could design a robot based on its experiences, then give that robot all the information it needed to navigate the world and carry out tasks. Anyone could then 3D print this robot anywhere around the world. And the system would be one of continuous learning and iteration with better robots being made every second. We’re still very far away from this but it is these kind of ongoing developments that make me think that I live in the future. I think we should really consider the implications of this. I know, it sounds a bit sci fi and off piste. But, we will develop a Skynet at one point and we should consider the implications before we do so. Follow i.materialise on Twitter to be kept up to date on Amigo and his 3D printed robot friends. Via Plasticpals.