Okay, this is interesting. This blog-post has been sitting in my drafts folder for a couple of weeks now. There was this thought in my mind, something to do with the idea that 'Robotics should go mainstream.' It was just a random question and I didn't even know what that meant. Obviously, I still don't. But I've had this gut feeling that the industry should start gaining traction in the near future.
Lo and behold, just a couple of hours ago I found out that Google has decided to acquire Boston Dynamics link.
Now, I'm pretty sure that Google has no intention of getting into the field of military robotics. I'm making an assumption here and if I happen to be wrong, then this is/will be quite a pivot for Google.
A more logical assumption, Google and potentially others want to be the first. The first pioneers when it comes to Robotics making a giant leap into the future of everyday robotics.
Now, that thought that I was referring to earlier on. I did spend a teeny weeny bit of time, thinking and wondering how Robotics could actually start making inroads into our daily lives. But as with everything, it starts with defining the problem first. Why create or spend time making something that nobody wants.
So, I think, there are a couple of key components here:
Now this spectrum that I was referring to, it's full of so many different possibilities and opportunities.
Imagine the possibilities that could open up when you have one robot that can do pretty much anything. Now the barrier to that happening would be one of programming the logic into the machine, for it to be able to conduct tasks a specific way.
The other barrier is one of security and reliability. We are not talking about software apps on a tablet anymore. We are talking about a device that has the ability to interact with your physical world. Things could go wrong even when they are not supposed to.
But, the possibilities are endless and the more you think about it, the more doable it seems.
I'd easily drop a couple of G's on a robot if it did do most of the things I have mentioned above and then some more. The amount of time that such a purchase would free up for me, would make it worth it.
I think one key ingredient for mass-scale manufacturing and adoption of robots is for the manufacturer to *not* try and program all of the logic into the machines themselves. This is precisely the reason why the price point for ASIMO is so high. Plus, even with a price tag of a couple of million dollars, I'm not sure if Honda is actually selling them. I don't think they are ready just yet. As they keep running into some kind of a glitch.
Hence the alternative would be to crowd-source as much of the development effort as possible. Again, the app-store model for mobile devices is a perfect example. Imagine if Apple or Google tried to create all the applications that the consumers wanted by themselves.
Hence, instead of working really hard to create a need for an Asimo in every house. Perhaps it would be better to start with an R2D2 that performs 40% of the tasks that we'd like a robot to perform. And we keep enhancing the product suite, as we continue making advances in machine learning.
Interesting move by Google. Very very interesting.