2012 CES Robotics Trends - They are Getting Smarter!
The robots showcased at CES in 2012 weren't just standing or holding on to something any more. We are starting to see second generation, thinking robots. The things we see as remote control toys, are now robust enough to actually start doing work. The electronics on board are now high definition cameras, and the data transfer rates are fairly solid as well. Bottom line, the robots we are seeing at CES are starting to think, process and store information, and generally can make our lives easier in the future. This is a pretty big turning point for many of these technologies. I am calling them 2nd generation robots. They don't just do what they are told anymore.
In my opinion, several technologies, miniturizations, associated code, and hardware are converging with our networks to enable computerized control of every man's world. To automate your house, or your blinds to a time of day isn't optimal compared to what is now possible. What will make it work? It can eliminate costs, improve security, and even reduce loss for many applications. These things translate to tangible bottom line results, so implementation will occur. This is what I see, and the show proved the parts are showing up already.
What is your definition of second generation robotics?
A robot can be programmed to do something. A 2nd gen robot helps program itself, and can extend far beyond line of sight. Across the world would be best. Therefore, a second generation robot, for me, has to have a CPU, RAM memory, redundant network capability, open code or SDK for integration to whatever we are going to do with it, and the ability to execute updates on it's own schedule. The whole of this discussion is really enabled by the fact that your smart phone has redundant, and efficient network, cpu power, and the ability to load custom code to memory and use those faculties. With those 4 things, programmers are now being able to tie those functions together for your unique purposes, whether they be for banking, security, work, etc. Because your smartphone is on your hip, your control emenates from it. Now robotics on the other end have some real way to watch them, either from across the street, or the country.
Assuming you have something to protect, you can find $300 to either insure it, lock it up, or watch it. Security Cameras that can follow folks, detect movement, and zoom in on the happenings are nothing new, and have served the purpose. However, these systems were expensive, and sending those signals around was only for the rich or famous. 2012 marks the ability for the common man to log into video feeds of his garage, field, weather stations, livestock, etc. These new systems will only increase the efficiency of the economies that utilize it. These autonomous viewpoints aren't stationary any more either. With the advent of stabilization, rangefinding lasers, and the ability to hover on the new toy drones, they aren't just toys any more. The fact that these new drones send back 720p HD video, and that those signals can be encrypted make them something to think about when it comes to your Drone Budgeting, $300 now puts you in the game if you already have a smart phone. Farmers with a large WiFi can now monitor whole sections of land from a smart phone just as easily as Walmart Security sees the same size mega stores, but from the convenience of the saddle, on a smart phone.
The ability to control the amount of power you utilize is becoming more and more important to consumers as the price goes up. By using the natural powers of nature, sunlight on cold days for instance, those costs can be dramatically reduced. However, somebody has to open the blinds after the sun comes up, and not before hand, or the insulation from those blinds is lost in the mean time. Now that stationary robotics are easily able to communicate to central command, sunrise, sunset, and other precious data is streaming from the internet to the control centers that drive these systems. As the manufacturers race past these computing requirements to achieve the next cell phone innovations, the technology to run your whole house on it becomes more affordable than running the heater. The cost benefit analysis for home automation is about to make sense based on 2nd generation, mechanization, cpu, memory, and now data via more robust networks is closing the loop.
Long Distance Control of Systems
If I can see one Iphone drive another Iphone, be it via cellular, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth, we have a system that can be upscaled to multiple applications. XYBotYX get's a special mention here because their innovative application has the ability, via those redundant networks, to extend the control across the country, for whomever is in charge. Should this system ramp up to a version 2, where it can quasi-navigate on it's own, they too will have a second generation robot on their hands. Great work guys!!!