Monday, February 28, 2011

What is your vision of the future?

Photo of Unimate, the first production robot, ...Image via Wikipedia

My vision is probably a bit different than most. I suffer from a unique character flaw, one that I’m happy to possess; that I believe nothing is impossible. It is no secret that automation is my one true engineering love. While people fear that robots are going to take their jobs from them, I see a possibility to do tasking with a robot that the replaced user could control to carry out intricate tasking with a human operator who is assisted with the electro-mechanical assistance of a robot where they would have once stood all the while from the comfort of their home office.  Huge sentence put the point is made. Robot = bad and then oh wait… not so bad…

I believe that automation holds a unique key for us, the key to do more than we can naturally do, while still using the mental capacity of its human operator. This way we can make changes on the fly, do visual inspections, reduce work time injury, and the list goes on and on. The human error factor tends to hurt quality in repetitive operations, but without it more obstacles are usually encountered. Process flaws, rapid change implementation, creativity for process improvement, and overall versatility to name a few. Industrial robotics has been around for a while and robotic assistance is provided in many environments already. The improvement part is always up for grabs however.

User controls stations that can carry out multiple tasks from the operators control is a nice thought. One that could be stationary (or moveable with docking capabilities) would be great for many tasks that operate on lines. This would be more a machine with the employee onboard, or robotic with the pilot in the office or at home. It replaces some jobs, this is true, but allows for everything a company would need. Think about 24/7/365 availability with operators running shifts or even preprogrammed controls to operate menial tasks on its own.

Exoskeletons are another interesting take. Military applications, industrial applications, and general civilian applications present themselves with the versatility an exoskeleton could provide. From heavy equipment, heavy armament, to large capacity capabilities exoskeletons could provide massive support to operations in need. Imagine a firefighter exoskeleton that can navigate burning buildings with multiple options for firefighting and rescue operations. Tactical uses are apparently obvious, and other hazardous environment operations could be assisted with the strength and capabilities of an exoskeleton could provide.

Just random thoughts here that I hope one day I can tackle. The technology is already here, the price tags always seem too high, the need is apparent, and I hate having to wait for my chance to partake in something so awesome. Before you go screaming SKYNET just remember that A.I. is programmed by people. Until the machine is allowed, mean the creator gives it the ability to do so; it won’t be able to overthrow us. That’s the great thing about machines; we control them not the other way around. This is just my two cents.

Either way technology is rapidly advancing. Technology literally seems to travel at the speed of light. We can try to resist it, but the temptation of an easier way is a hard one to resist. We have real problems in store for us in the future. Our struggling power infrastructure throughout the world, rampant capitalism that will keep you shelling out money to stay on the grid, and an economic structure that impedes creativity more than allowing it will be a tough task to handle for sure. Everyone has their vision of the future. What role do you have in it?

As Always… Knock Hard… Life is Deaf…
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment