The rise of artificial intelligence can be attributed to the increase in robots within the automation and service sector, creating a massive shift in the industry. From welcoming guests in the hospitality sector to accomplishing surgical and assistive robotics work in the health industry, robots are revolutionising the world.
This rapid advancement, however, has made them the target of misconceptions, with some individuals feeling threatened due to the robots’ wide range of skills. But are these myths justified, or are they just rooted in fear? Here are the top 3 myths demystified.
Service robots pose safety risks
With the use of humanoid robots being seen in areas such as health monitoring, concern has risen over safety measures in such a sector. It is, however, crucial to note that robots rely on machine learning and are programmed to solve problems only with the direction of data scientists. It means that they can only perform work based on the data they are given. Contrary to posing harm to individuals, a humanoid robot is precise as it uses artificial intelligence and a set of rules to provide efficient results.
Robotics’ physical presence causes disruptions
Imagine getting to a restaurant, and all you need is some quiet time to unwind from a hectic day. Artificial intelligence makes it possible for robots to be at your service only when you need them, giving you your much-needed privacy.
A humanoid robot relies on electronic sensor devices to perform tasks just like a smart home or a smart security camera would.
Service robots have no human connection
With the increased use of virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa, this myth could not be far from the truth. Artificial intelligence makes it possible for service robots to continually adapt to human interaction, such as areas requiring customer service.
Machine learning also allows a humanoid robot to mimic human behaviour; hence aspects such as speech are made easier. You may have spoken to a few robots and even recommended the service without your knowledge.
Service robots are here to stay, given their impeccable functions and their ability to make life better.
The rise of affordable robots
Up to now, using robots in certain industries has only been practical for large companies and corporations that can afford the substantial capital investment. But that may soon be about to change, thanks to EVA.
EVA is the name given to a robotic arm developed by London based Automata. But unlike the robots employed in large, repetitive manufacturing processes and smart factories, which cost upwards of tens of thousands of pounds, versions of EVA are sold from upwards of just £4,990.
Affordable robots for small businesses
Automata was started by ex-architects Suryansh Chandra and Mostafa Alesayed. Their idea was to design, manufacture and market a more affordable robotic arm for small businesses. It looks as if their plans are paying off, as thousands of businesses can now install EVA for a fraction of the cost of the bigger robotics manufacturers in the market.
They have achieved this by developing EVA from cheaper, yet still wholly reliable components. For example, the motor that EVA uses to power her operation is the same type as that used for powering the electric windows of cars.
Electronics-wise, the computer chips that EVA uses are like those you’ll find in many other electronic items made for the home consumer market.
The race is on
Automata is not alone in bringing more affordable robotics to market. Demand is likely to be huge with versions of EVA completing tasks like sticking labels onto packages and picking and placing things like cakes from counter to plate or carton. Take pick and mix in the confectionery sector, for example.
In order to introduce robotics into the rapidly growing pick and mix sector, robotic arms like EVA have to be capable of identifying and grasping all kinds of differently sized and shaped articles. As an example, one of the big problems in the confectionery market is the vulnerability of the product.
Handle with care
An American company aptly called Soft Robotics is on the case. Whereas industrial robotic arms have to be capable of dealing with solid and sometimes heavy items, Soft Robotics is developing a robotic arm with air-filled, rubber “fingers” that can be used for handling delicate items of confectionery such as cakes and biscuits.
The next stage in robotics, where gentle handling is vital, is to give robots a sense of touch. At the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, Professor Nathan Lepora has created rubber sensors able to detect and map, surfaces.
By inserting cameras into each “finger”, the robot can see how the rubber fingertips alter shape when coming into contact with an object. When linked to AI, it is hoped the robot can be taught to recognise specific items and adjust the collecting action and the force necessary to handle the item without damaging it.
Affordable, sensitive robotic hands could be available by 2030 or before
Professor Lepora says that this is no more than an engineering challenge and believes that by the end of this decade, robotic hands will be able to imitate the actions of human hands.