zenpundit.com » Blog Archive

THE COMING OF THE MODULAR SUPERBOTS

This is some cool techno-foreshadowing that will warm the hearts of geeks, nerds and sci-fi aficianados everywhere. ” Superbots” – robotic modules demonstrating emergent behavior. To quote Dr. Von:

“I just found it fascinating that these concepts are now being introduced and perfected in robotics, where a USC group is demonstrating that robotic modules can act independently, but when combined can communicate with each other, adapt, and perform multiple functions”

Von has posted and linked to a set of videos like this one.

Now imagine this concept married to nanotechnology where each superbot is at the mirco- or nano- level, perhaps in a buckeyball design, and you have a collective superbot that could dynamically adapt to virtually any environment.

4 Responses to “”

  1. Fabius Maximus Says:

    “robotic modules can act independently, but when combined can communicate with each other, adapt, and perform multiple functions”

    Why so excited, as if this is a new idea?

    Everyone watching Saturday morning TV in the 1980’s learned this from watching Voltron — Defender of the Universe.

    I note with dismay that not only did they not cite Voltron as the source of this insight, but USC failed to include clips from ANY Voltron cartoons.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Can you plese give me one example of emergent behavior shown by these devices — i.e. something quite unpredicted?
    Regards,
    Ian

  3. mark Says:

    Hi Ian

    Off the top of my head I hazard that the modules are communicating and they are affecting their environment, however marginally. But since you are looking for something a whole lot more impressive, let me inquire of someone who is actually educated for such things.

    Fabius,

    I’m afraid Voltron and his awesome powers are quite beyond my ken.

  4. Isaac Says:

    Mark – While the robots are super cool and I enjoyed watching all the videos, I didn’t see anything ’emergent’… at least not in a philosophical sense. I’m staunchly anti-AI (as a possibility, even), but hopefully optimistic for robust CI. Check Wikipedia’s ‘Hubert Dreyfus’ article. He was, perhaps, the most personally-influential professor I ever had. Anyway, suffice it to say that the use of the words ’emergent’ and ‘robot’ in the same piece causes me some trepidation… I do, however, see amazing potential for ‘superbots’ in un-manned aerial and ground systems. Good link.
    Fabius, Allura, Blue Lion pilot and Princess of Arus (?), rocked my little-kid world! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.


Switch to our mobile site