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Artificial Intelligence Robots You Have to See to Believe
We’ve been dreaming of artificial intelligence since the inception of robots, but it turns out it’s not such a fantasy anymore.
10 – ASIMO
Named after Isaac Asimov, sci-fi writer and creator of the Three Laws of Robotics, Honda’s ASIMO was first created in 2000 to show the incredible ability of a real, walking robot. At the time, ASIMO was revolutionary for its AI recognizing obstacles in its way and navigating around them as it put one foot in front of the other. The humanoid bot could run, hop on one foot, climb stairs (with varying levels of success), and interact with people around it, though its communication abilities were somewhat limited. It also made for a pretty cool companion for hangouts with friends as it could open flasks and pour drinks, a level of dexterity and finesse unseen from most robots.
ASIMO was even part of a 10-robot dance group, though that’s more an impressive display of programming and engineering than artificial intelligence. AI isn’t far enough that robots can create their own routines yet, unfortunately. We still have quite a few more years before we see Robotics Best Dance Crew on the air.
9 – Flippy
MISO Robotics’ mechanical AI arm Flippy is a helping hand around the kitchen. As its name suggests, the robot’s greatest talent is that it can flip a burger to absolute perfection. While there are other cooking robots out serving hungry customers right now, they’re not AI and can’t adapt to the needs of individual kitchens.
Flippy’s learning AI, however, has allowed it to move beyond just the grill to the fryers, and the future holds new recipes in store for the robo chef. Through thermal sensors and cameras, it can tell when a patty needs flipping and can fry french fries and chicken strips, all without missing a detail or with its spatula. It also regulates its stations, cleaning up after itself and maintaining a safe working environment that won’t have OSHA knocking on the kitchen door. Flippy may not be able to eat its creations — it doesn’t have a mouth, after all — but it can still make a mean burger.
8 – Pepper
Back in 2014, SoftBank Robotics unveiled Pepper, the adorable semi-humanoid robot that was the first AI to recognize facial expressions and respond to social cues. As a receptionist, retail worker, and teaching assistant, knowing whether someone is irate, confused, or curious while keeping up a helpful, personable disposition is key, especially if you’re not a person at all. Pepper can hold cheery conversations, give directions, hug you, shake your hand, and dance its artificial butt off all in the workplace.
However, Pepper still has so much farther to go in its learning and adaptation process. This is why the bot comes with a tablet attached to its chest. Those with language barriers or who just don’t want to talk to the cute robot can still get the help they need.
7 – Roomba
We all probably think of the Roomba as just the cool electronic maid that can clean our floors when we want to go out on the town or just can’t be bothered to ourselves. The Roomba’s creator iRobot is another clear Asimov fan, so it should come as no surprise that the smart vacuum is also an AI.
The first model, which went on the market in 2002, was fairly limited and not much of an AI at all as it bumbled around living room floors looking for dirt to suck up. The Roomba has gotten remarkably more advanced in the 18 years since then. The newest models can scan the rooms they’re in with built-in cameras, identifying obstacles long before they can ram into them.
They’re also no longer bound to just one room, but can explore an entire floor before returning home to their charging stations. These little guys probably need a new name now — for accuracy’s sake. iRobot should probably stay away from Floorba or Houseba, though.
6 – Sawyer
Not everything can be automated when it comes to the assembly line, at least not without breaking the merchandise like robots are bulls in a china shop. That’s possibly the only reason Jeff Bezos hasn’t replaced all his employees with bots yet. However, when it comes to AI, the line between human and robot capabilities is getting smaller every day. Sawyer is another mechanical AI arm, but instead of flipping burgers it creates circuit boards and other tech, jobs that used to be left solely to humans. Sawyer’s intelligence systems and camera sensors allow it to put together and mend tech that need a delicate, precise touch.
What truly makes Sawyer unique from other AI arms is its tablet display, which tops the bot off with a pair of eyes that let its human companions know just what’s going on in that electronic brain. With 7 different emotions, Sawyer can express whether it’s confused, on standby, or has noticed someone approach. Sawyer is first and foremost a “cobot,” designed to work collaboratively with its human coworkers.