What can robots do?

What can robots do?

Exactly 100 years ago, it was published a play by Karl Chapek about artificial people, and the word “robot” came into general use. However, the idea of a humanoid robot appeared much earlier. Leonardo da Vinci’s notes, found in the 1950s, contained detailed drafts of a mechanical knight capable of sitting up, moving its arms and head, and opening its visor.

Outstanding discoveries of the last century in a variety of disciplines — Cybernetics, Mechatronics, Informatics, Electronics, which robotics is based on, led to its rapid development and implementation of its achievements in all spheres of human life.

By the 30s of the 20th century, the first androids appeared that could move and pronounce simple phrases, and in September 2005, the first humanoid robots Wakamaru produced by Mitsubishi, capable of recognizing faces, understanding certain phrases, giving information, performing secretarial functions, and monitoring the premises, were already available for free sale.

In the early 1960s, the world’s first industrial robot began working on the production line of the General Motors Plant, and today the demand for hundreds of modifications of such robots is constantly growing. They perform complex production operations 24 hours a day, their products are of high quality and low cost, robots do not get sick, do not need a lunch break and rest, air conditioning, lighting and heating of premises. They do not strike, do not demand higher wages and pensions, and are not exposed to environmental influences that are dangerous to human life.

Robots not only discharge people from monotonous routine operations in production, but also find application in almost all types of activities. They are used in medicine, social services, police, state security agencies, emergency services, restaurant business and, of course, in everyday life and household use.

Combat robots replace humans in conditions that are incompatible with the capabilities of humans, for military purposes: reconnaissance, combat operations, mine clearance, and also operate in the air and water environment. There have been created robots – scientists, cosmonauts, teachers, musicians, chess players, artists, cooks and waiters, harvesters and garbage collectors, sumo wrestlers and even fashion models.

Sensor robots of the new generation – miniature and nimble assistants simplify the life of warehouse employees. Such devices perform 70% of the work in the warehouse of the Alibaba Chinese Online Shopping.

There are three generations of robots according to the changes in their structure, the appearance of new functions and capabilities, the expansion of application areas and the pattern of utilization. Software robots of the first generation are mainly designed to perform a hard-coded sequence of operations dictated by a particular technological process.

Sensor-based robots of the second generation differ from software robots, firstly, by a significantly larger range of both external and internal sensors and, secondly, by a more complex control system. The combination of first- and second-generation robots makes it possible to automate the vast majority of manual and transport operations in the field of industrial and agricultural production.

The third generation of robots is intelligent or smart, robots that are distinguished by the complexity and perfection of the control system, which includes elements of artificial intelligence. They are designed not so much to imitate the physical actions of a person, but to solve intellectual problems.

The authors of regular reviews of the robotics market believe that in the future, the best result will show not the frightening replacement of people with robots, but their cooperation. This interaction between robots and humans will develop in four main areas: a robot as a tool that replicates human capabilities (for example, exoskeletons and prosthetics); a robot as a tool that expands human capabilities; an avatar robot, i.e. a machine that is remotely controlled by a person in hard-to-reach places; social interaction with a person, such as voice assistants and chat-bots.

At the production stage, the development of 3D printing and digital technologies, the appearance of new materials, their cheapening, and optimization of software, that will make it easier and faster to create more advanced machines, will stimulate the progress of robotics.

The capabilities of modern robotics were clearly demonstrated by Curly, the robot athlete with artificial intelligence, who recently outplayed the Korean Olympians in Curling.

This is a joint development of the German-Korean robotics team, which a mobile platform was specially designed for with two modules, a camera on a bar to assess the situation on the field and a mechanism for launching a stone at a target. After training, Curly played with professional curlers and confidently won three out of four rounds against people. No less interesting was the experience of playing a robot-human team. 

In Turkmenistan, robotics is put more and more emphasis on the educational policy and youth scientific and technical creativity. International cooperation with world leaders in robotics is actively developing in this area. For example, master classes on programming and robotics management were conducted for Turkmen students by specialists from the United States.

Japanese specialists participated in the development of training programs in robotics for students of the Oguz Khan University of Engineering and Technology, which has a faculty for training highly qualified engineers, roboticists, and electronics specialists. At the mean step of the national educational system, it is planned to open specialized schools with in-depth study of robotics, so that children and young people know the ropes in the field of innovation.

Last year, at the International Robotics Competition FIRST Global Challenge-2019, which is held annually under the auspices of the International First Committee Association, a team of Turkmen senior high school students won a four-fold gold victory, that brought Turkmenistan to one of the highest positions in the rating table of the competition results.

Schoolchildren and students not only participate in international competitions, but also demonstrate their original ideas and developments at home competitions. For example, in the student competition at the International University of Humanities and Development, which attracted the interest of students from other universities and Ashgabat schoolchildren, there were presented a robot engraver and a robot painter, as well as projects designed to support people with disabilities.

Gozel SAHATOVA

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