Robots Development Challenges

A work of the Information Society Technologies Advisory Group (ISTAG) addresses the challenges of researching and developing robots including: <blackqoute> * Robot “brains”: Develop systems that are capable of integrating rich and multi-modal perception, of solving more than a single task, of adapting to changing environmental and task requirements, of understanding and of communicating with humans and with their peers. Robot brains will not necessarily mimic human brains.

* Robot “bodies”: Develop technologies that allow robot companions to grow their body and to adapt their physical shape to a certain task (class). This calls for materials, structures and actuators that go beyond the rigid plastic and metal structures of today’s robots in that they will be adaptive, compliant, safe for humans, self-repairing and self-morphing, and bio-compatible.

* Robot energy supplies and “metabolisms”: An alternative could be to break away from the classical electrical energy cycle and create new cycles with “metabolic” energy converters and/or actuators that can be driven directly without going through the electrical cycle – all modeled on energy conversion and actuation principles found in animals.

* Miniaturization and Distribution: Develop robots that can be small, bio-compatible and possibly bio-degradable to safely live within human bodies in order to carry out monitoring, drug delivery, and repair. Distributed micro-robots may operate coherently over large spatial extension in an asynchronous manner, may be connected to the internet or other wireless networks, and may have distributed sensing and actuation capabilities.

* Human-robot interaction: Living robots designed to operate with humans must also be able to learn from a human partner like a child – as it grows and physically adapts to its tasks. This is a completely new and unchartered field in the context of robotics, but it is a precondition for the ultimate robot to become an accepted “peer” for humans.

* Roboethics. The development of robot companions as truly autonomous entities will give rise to completely new ethics – how can machines that are so close to humans be designed and used for the advancement of society and how can we prevent its misuse against humans or humankind? </blackqoute>

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