Of course everybody is thinking about the Terminator series when the concept of robots pops into the conversation, although we have talked in the past about social robots, but how far advanced is the technology of creating such developed robots that they could actually look, move, learn, evolve and behave just like humans? We may be closer than we ever thought, with some news coming from two different parts of the world, but which complement each other. A few days ago, a team of MIT researchers announced a breakthrough in soft robotics – the science and art of creating robots that don’t only have a soft exterior but are powered by a system of flexible tubes and channels to let fluids fuel the robot – a robo – fish able to move just like a real fish, same agility and speed in performing regular swimming and escaping maneuvers. This is a very big step for mankind – or at least for artificial intelligence experts – because the softer and more flexible the robots become, the greater their area of use may become and the safer their impact upon the environment would be. As environment we are talking about motion, trajectory and avoiding collisions, of course.
In another part of the world, Switzerland to be exact, recent news emphasize the projects of Japanese robot scientist Fumiya Iida to build better shaped, more athletic robots, creaturelike robots in fact, machines able to mimic some Earth’s animals key – features. He was talking about the kangaroo’s ability to perform jumps and leaps and the bees’ incredible eyesight. Or, as we said before, the fish’s agility to change direction in fractions of seconds.
Why are creaturelike robots important for our world’s future?
The advantage of soft robots and athletic ones for that matter is that they will not be bound to rigidity anymore, thus opening doors for numerous applications in biomechanics, biological engineering and even wildlife research. To top it all, the Japanese scientist in Zurich aims to design creaturelike robots able to adapt to the environment, learn and evolve, just like animals in natural habitats can do. Although this is only an early working hypothesis, the robo – fish is one of the biggest innovations in robot science, proving we have the technology to create and control outstanding machines. Maybe we won’t have a true movie – like terminator among us very soon, but we might expect our favorite National Geographic shows to present wildlife data gathered directly by creaturelike robots that can easily blend in the landscape.