The creators of Mimus, a 1,200-kg (2646 lbs.) industrial robot that can sense and respond to human movement, believe it's possible. Part art-installation, part display of engineering ingenuity, Mimus was created from an ABB IRB 6700 robot and commissioned for the "Fear and Love" exhibit at The Design Museum with the goal of promoting companionship between humans and machines. The robot's creator notes that this particular machine is more like a "she" than an "it." Most industrial robots are made to perform repetitive tasks, but Mimus has no pre-planned movements and is instead programmed to freely explore the space around her and to interact with visitors. The exhibit designers wanted to replicate the experience of seeing a large, exotic animal at a zoo.
The security robots are made by a company called Knightscope, located in Mountain View. The K5 version uses lasers, thermal imaging sensors, 360 video, air quality sensors, a microphone and various other technologies to deter and detect criminal activities. In the event of suspicious activity, the robot alerts local human authorities. Stacy Dean Stephens, Knightscope vice president of marketing and sales, told NBC Bay Area that the company does not think the robots are dangerous. "This is a horrific accident, but we believe the technology and the machines are incredibly safe and we will continue to do our best to make sure that they are," Stephens said.
This robot dives to depths humans dare not attempt - and it can bring people along for the ride without them getting wet. The Stanford-built OceanOne is filled with compressible oil to offset the crushing pressures experienced when 100 metres underwater, and AI-assisted navigation steers it clear of obstacles. Its operators remain on land, observing on screen everything the robot captures, using joysticks to drive it and guiding its hands through a feedback mechanism that relays tactile sensations. "It's impossible to let a robot act alone in such an environment: it will fail," says Professor Oussama Khatib, OceanOne's creator. "The only way you can guarantee success is connecting a worker through a haptic device to the robot.
The subjects in the team's 26 trial runs showed signs of arousal when Nao asked them to touch its intimate areas. They even touched those parts more quickly, as if they were uncomfortable doing so. However, Li told Mashable that "it isn't necessarily sexual arousal," not when the subjects reacted similarly when Nao asked them to touch its eye. They didn't get "turned on" when it asked them to touch its more accessible parts, like its hands. "One way I thought about it is, the robot is talking like a person, it looks like a person and has social cues like a person [gesturing, looking at the subjects].
Researchers in Germany are developing a way for robots to feel pain, in the hopes that doing so will enable them to better protect humans. The researchers, from Leibniz University of Hannover, are working on an "artificial robot nervous system to teach robots how to feel pain," IEEE Spectrum reports, and presented their project at a robotics and automation conference in Sweden last week. Under the system, robots would identify pain and quickly respond to avoid further damage to their parts. Johannes Kuehn, one of the researchers working on the system, says that enabling robots to feel and react to pain could help mitigate damage in the same way that humans sense pain to protect themselves. "Pain is a system that protects us," Kuehn tells IEEE Spectrum.