Sunday, December 18, 2005

Can a robot be an artist?

Can a robot be an artist? The mechanics of robots continues to steadily evolve. In recent years we have seen the rise of robots that can stand up, walk, run (in a manner), even ride a bicycle. While these abilities still lag some way behind humans is is inevitable, as smaller, more poweful motors and power supplies are developed and new technologies such as shape-memory alloys and shape-memory polymers begin to be used in artificial muscles, that human-like physical abilities will be achieved. But in artificial intelligence, the question of whether human level abilities wil ever be possible is still very much unanswered. Take the ability to create art. The above kanji is pronounced "budo" and means "Way of the Warrior" and was drawn by an Japanese artist. While a robot may be able to copy this art would it be able to create something so beautiful? Presumably it would need human-like life experiences, and an appreciation of what beauty is. Can such feelings be programmed into a robot and is there any reason that a robot`s sense of what is beautiful would be the same as a human`s given the very different ways the two are likely to see the world?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Ballroom `bots

There were some robots I hadn`t seen before including these ballroom-dancing robots known as PBDR (Partner Ballroom Dancing Robot). Professor Kazuhiro Kosuge is in charge of the research project developing the robots at Tohoku Unoversity (not Tokhuro as CNN and others reported, there is no such place). Notice the gap in the front of their "skirts" so that their human practice partner can move his legs.I saw a video of the robots being used to practice dancing but i have no idea if they are actually intended to be sold.

International Robot Exhibition - HRP-2

Last week I went to the International Robot exhibition in Tokyo. There were so many robots too see. Of course, the most popular robots were the humanoids. For some years now, AIST and Kawada industries have been researching this robot, called HRP-2. It is the height of a small adult and appears to have similar abilities to Honda`s Asimo. The ultimate aim is for the robot to assist humans at home and in the workplace. At the exhibition, HRP-2 did some traditional Japanese drumming. I have uploaded a video of the drumming here.