Robotics

Photo via Flickr

 

We see robots in movies and they often look mechanical. Like for example in the latest Star Wars, R2-D2 and BB9E were cute mechanical hardballs that were "geniuses" in their spheres of work, always having the right information needed at a moments notice. There are others like the replicants in the movie Blade Runner which are more human looking - having human-like features and texture, intelligence, and even emotions. 

In a move to make robots more human-like, Japanese scientists have created two droids which they called Kengoro and Kenshiro which have musculoskeletal systems complete with rib cages and an artificial central nervous system that controls balance and stability. 

Materials used for the robots were aluminum, steel, and plastic for the frames and newly designed synthetic joins and ligaments for better movement. The robots also have high-processing power which makes them act and react more instantaneously to different situations. 

Yuki Asano said of the robots in an article in the journal Science Robotics that their intent is "to design a humanoid based on human systems, including the musculoskeletal structure, sensory nervous system, and methods of information processing in the brain," and that "They imitate the human musculoskeletal structure, support the flexible body and behaviours of humans, and support human-style muscle actuation using tendon-driven actuators."

Previous robots were really designed based on conventional engineering and mechanics, electronics and informatics. We can see them in factory robots, and those that have doll-like features that are able to manage some conversations, smile a bit and have some movements of the head and some body parts. 

But now we are moving to a time when robots will really look more like humans, having sweat glands which also make them perspire, like these two Japanese droids. 

We may be coming into a time when there'll be replicants in the streets like in the Blade Runner movie. It may be that the next generation of them will have "hearts" as well.