Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Where Does All the Computer Power Go?

The Economist has an article in the current edition (June 19th, 2008) on the proliferation of robots. It states that there are now more than one million robots in operation worldwide.
Today, thanks to the relentless increase in the power of computing, the latest robots are being fitted with sophisticated systems that enable them to see, feel, move and work together. Robot engineers call this “mechatronics”: the union of mechanics, optics, electronics, computers and software. Some factory robots are now smart enough to be released from their safety cages to work among humans. And as they become cleverer and more dexterous, they are starting to move from factories to offices and homes......

Among a bewildering array of robots that can now do most jobs in a factory there were also machines that could fly, fetch, carry, talk and even perform surgery (see article).........Four trends were on show (last week at the Automatica robotics show): robots are rapidly becoming more responsive, cheaper, simpler to program and safer.

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