Speculation 2015: Third and Fourth Helping Robotic Hands


Extra wearable robotic arms would be helpful. Above is a statue of Vishnu.

If Rodney Brooks’ Heartland Robotics goal of low cost worker robots and robot arms were merged with the new bionic arm work at John’s Hopkins, then able bodied people could wear or use robotic arms that would function as an extra helping hand or two.

Rodney Brooks, co-founder and CTO of iRobot, recently left his iRobot post to found his own robotics company, Heartland Robotics.

Rodney Brooks new work talks about “I want to effect a powerful evolution in the world’s labor markets, and my current focus is to develop low-cost robots that will empower American workers” which is the same as Heartland Robotics. The new work is focused on the Obrero robot.


By 2009, DARPA hopes to have a mechanical arm whose functionality is on par with a flesh-and-blood limb.

The bionic arms have integration and control via mind machine interfaces. Artificial intelligence could be activated at times to initiate independent tasks for the robotic arms. Robotic arms could be detached and mounted on a table or a car dash board so that the arms could perform independent tasks such as feeding a child.

Having highly functional robotic arms could be a simpler research target then fully functional androids that had legs, arms and were mimicking all aspects of a person. Carrying around, wearing or using mounted such robotic arms should be highly useful and productivity enhancing.

Even robotic arms that could not perform the most complex tasks could be useful to hold up a book or laptop or cellular phone while your regular arms were occupied.

FURTHER READING
There are over one million industrial robots in the world and most are expensive robot arms. This clearly shows that there is value in robot arms. Making effective robot arms that are more inexpensive and lighter and more mobile would have value in many more places in the home and at work. It could be better and more common that robot people like C3PO because there may be fewer situations where you need to go to the extra cost and complexity of one C3PO instead of ten robotic arms.

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1

"quasi-plausible zombie plagues"
That is, after suspending our disbelief about zombiedom, where the subsequent scenario is internally coherent.

2

I have always found the poor epidemiology of zombie movies like '28 days' and 'Dawn of the Dead quite irritating. In order for a zombie plague to spread and become pandemic from a modest initial start each zombie has to on average 'convert' at least one human before being destroyed. However, stupid zombies that do not use technology can be destroyed in vast numbers. One armed individual could simply walk around with a large quantity of ammunition killing hundreds of the slow-moving zombies from 'Night of the Living Dead,' and even the fast-moving zombies of the other films could be dealt with en masse by groups of armed citizens led by police or military from fortified positions (even with zombies running at marathon speed, most regions will have time to prepare).

The only quasi-plausible zombie plagues are those that initially and subsequently infect people through means other than bites from human zombies. In 'Shaun of the Dead' the plague spread like an influenza before converting victims into zombies, ensuring that most of the population was converted to start, such that the kill ratio of the survivors didn't immediately destroy the plague (which was nevertheless defeated in a matter of days).

A zombie plague that could be carried by zombie rats and birds (as in the recent 'Resident Evil' film) would be tremendously more apocalyptic still.