Facebook hasn’t exactly been a helping hand in keeping people smart on the internet. Status updates, game invites, and being tagged in embarrassing pictures doesn’t do much for the learning process. Robots given their own social network, however, can apparently learn a lot, according to Carlos Asmat, the project coordinator for MyRobots.com
. The project aims to see what different types of robots or even household objects can learn or effectively communicate to one another and their owners by updating their statuses.
Naobots via NewScientist/Yoshikazu Tsuno
The update status of any robot may be as mundane as any human’s, but in a social network setting, this information can be pooled, making it easy for the robots to learn from one another. A robot that is overheated or stuck can troubleshoot the experience from the information others have provided. Stationary household objects and moving robots can also make it easy for humans to keep them working at their best. Often, we don’t even know what’s wrong with half of our appliances and resort to unplugging, replugging, removing batteries, getting new batteries and all sorts of solutions we think will work, but really don’t. A robot social network would help to spell out those problems, eliminating the need to dig for an owner’s manual or throw yourself at the mercy of Google for a solution.
Household appliances can also learn a lot from one another about the same situation from different angles, creating a more efficient way for each to work in junction. Like the Home of Tomorrow depicted in Looney Tunes, our devices may one day work on their own this way according to NewScientist:
“For example, a stove and a fridge signed up to the site might detect usage, while a humanoid patroller robot might notice lots of people in the house. The next day, a robot vacuum could then deduce from those updates that there was a party, and that it should clean more because the house might be dirtier - all without the intervention of a human. "These examples can be seen as science fiction at the moment but are very close to become a reality," says Asmat.”
It seems the zany future we imagined in the 40s and 50s is not so far off. For now, however, the only robots that are using the site are Nao robots, little white humanoid bots made by Aldebaran Robotics in Paris France, and a few devices that run on the Arduino microcontroller. Those working on the project, however, are hoping to include as many devices as they can in the near future.
To read more, check out NewScientist or the MyRobots site.