Contemplating the various classes of robots

Most people immediately think of Terminator or Rosie the Robot when someone utters the term 'robot.' For me, robots do things humans are either not interested in doing or can't do. They don't have to be a humanoid to be valuable. After all, a search engine is a type of robot.

How about a discussion on where the edge of the robotic envelope is currently and will be in the near future? We can descend on a Boulder watering hole unless one of the members can offer up another location alternative. Let's get an exchange going and breath some life into this group.

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  • Nikolaus C.

    Buzz and Paula, thanks for your comments and making it to the meeting. I'm sorry I could not make it yesterday. As you know, this was a community/grass-root effort and I was hoping that those actively involved in this discussion will take the lead. It seems one of the very active contributors is now "A former member".

    Our Baxter robot is supposed to ship on May 15 and we will have the next meetup around this time at CU!

    April 5, 2013

  • Buzz M. R.

    Although it was nice to meet and share with the few people who DID attend, I found it quite disturbing and rather disappointing that NOT ONE of the organizers 'showed up', NOR did the person who suggested this topic in the first place! Hence, no discussion of the topic itself ensued. Other 'spontaneous' interesting topics were explored, but the PURPOSE of THIS meetup TOTALLY FAILED to be fulfilled. I'm quite certain that many of the other attendees share this disappointment. I would strongly suggest that in the future, AT LEAST one of the organizers (an effecitve moderator) show up to this meetup (along with the topic suggestor), and that the venue location is arranged well before a few hours before the event!! It might have been better to have had a cancellation or a rescheduling....

    1 · April 5, 2013

  • Paula N.

    Really strange - 40 people RSVP'd and 10 showed. The ones that showed were great, the ones that didn't show missed out.

    1 · April 4, 2013

  • Paula N.

    The Riverside has been posted as a location for this MeetUp - if you want a little more "ambiance" and want to meet at a restaurant the next time I'm sure I can figure something out.

    I would suggest that Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday are the best days to hit a restaurant up for a private room. Also for those who would like to eat dinner, they could come an hour earlier.

    Just a suggestion since I haven't even been to a meeting yet, LOL!

    April 4, 2013

    • Paula N.

      1724 Broadway Boulder... Used to be a restaurant.

      April 4, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Bobby,

      Kitty corner from Alfalfa's - look for the amazing historic building with the bright and colorful lights illuminating it! There is also a big green banner announcing Fuse coworking.

      April 4, 2013

  • Paula N.

    Is it OK to park in the lots of the municipal buildings in the area of the Riverside? I have asthma and don't like to walk very far. Couldn't see any on street parking at all in the area.

    April 4, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Paula,

      You can park easily across the street next to Mustard's or on 13th St where the Farmer's Market usually is. Those locations are both very close :-)

      April 4, 2013

  • Paula N.

    On the location - I'm thinking of a family run Mexican restaurant in Louisville that may be able to spare a back room. Can we promise them a couple of drinks/beverages each or a few dinners thrown in? I have no idea what these meetings are like.

    April 3, 2013

    • Jay S.

      I'm sure we could buy a few drinks; I will if we go to Louisville.

      April 4, 2013

  • Richard Moser changed the location to The Riverside

    April 4, 2013

  • Nikolaus C.

    I'm looking forward to today's meeting. Organizer, please step up to select a location. Could be anywhere, bar, restaurant.

    April 4, 2013

  • Mike S.

    I'm in

    April 4, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Working

    April 3, 2013

  • Bobby

    My guests are not 100%.

    April 3, 2013

  • Buzz M. R.

    April 4.th is rapidly approaching! Any 'location' determined as yet, or is this meetup likely to be rescheduled?

    Anywhere between Boulder and Broomfield would be preferable for my access, but I would not necessarily rule out a slightly more distant venue.

    April 2, 2013

  • Jay S.

    Regarding location; I would be very pleased with a Broomfield location as it is relatively central to Boulder, Denver and Longmont (not to mention the fact that I live in Broomfield ;-)

    March 26, 2013

  • Jay S.

    Thinking out loud here...There is a fundamental issue with attempting to build a classification system. A taxonomy akin to the biological classification system quickly breaks down due to the fact that inheritance is difficult to trace and is different for various behaviors. For example, Natural Language Processing (NLP) has various algorithmic threads of inheritance as well as human language, computer language and other threads of inheritance.

    Degree of autonomy, physical as well as computational, is equally difficult to consider. A mobile bot, a fixed robotic arm and a HAL-like robot have radically different physical autonomy but could all have the exact same computational autonomy. All could share identical pattern recognition architectures, while having different NLP implementations. No significant or highly useful computer language taxonomy has emerged for similar reasons. A purpose-driven model could be interesting...

    March 26, 2013

  • Carol N.

    I see there is a meeting place problem. We could pick Club Officers who would be responsible for this. Also some Clubs have Robot Competitions to raise money.

    March 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    We could try,

    Aloft Broomfield Denver
    8300 Arista Pl
    Broomfield, CO 80021
    US 36 & Broomfield pnR Gate C

    It's not as far as Boulder for us Denver folks and has a nice open area to visit and chat

    March 25, 2013

    • Paula N.

      How many are coming from Boulder, Denver, and like myself, Longmont?

      March 25, 2013

    • Paula N.

      Sorry, don't know this venue very well... Was also going to say that the Hotels are generally over priced and sterile... IMO worse than a chain restaurant.

      March 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    2. Robot Class II : A non mobile machine that is powered and can perform some predefined task or action without human intervention but has a defined human interface to safely interact with humans.
    Sub classes
    a. Medical monitor
    b. IV fluid machine
    c. Package sorting machine

    3. Robot Class III : An autonomously mobile machine that is self powered and can perform some predefined task or action without human intervention or interaction and has no human interface.
    Sub classes
    a. Lawn mower
    b. Wheeled vehicle
    c. Walker vehicle
    d. Trash hauler

    4. Robot Class IV: An autonomously mobile machine that is self powered and can perform some predefined task or action without human intervention but has a defined human interface to safely interact with humans.
    Sub classes
    a. R2D2
    b. C3PO
    c. Disabled Person Assistant
    d. Butler robot


    So that's four classes of machines that are either mobile or not and can interface with humans (in performance of its primary task) or not.

    March 25, 2013

    • Paula N.

      What about AI - doesn't that preclude "predefined task"? Human interface would not be used, human friendly ethical limits would take their place.

      March 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    It seems as the world has moved on from considering non autonomous machines for the robot role. I don't really see a need to play with the definition at this time.

    I could restate it as;
    A robot is a machine that is powered and can perform some predefined task or action without human intervention or interaction.

    This leaves plenty of room to define a basic machine functionality as a "Robot Class I" and a various specializations to define other classes. I would reframe from defining too many classes. I would think 3 or 4 different classes of machine would be enough. Variation of classes could be defined as sub classes.

    As a suggestion for discussion purposes, I,ll throw out a set of class definitions and some example sub classes.

    1. Robot Class I : A non mobile machine that is powered and can perform some predefined task or action without human intervention or interaction and has no human interface.

    (Continued)...

    March 25, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    The Oxford Dictionary definition;
    Definition of robot
    noun
    a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer.
    (especially in science fiction) a machine resembling a human being and able to replicate certain human movements and functions automatically.

    By this definition, a robot would have be self powered and autonomous. I seem to remember an older (pre Star Wars) definition that did not require a robotic machine to be self directing. A case in point would be the old nuclear industry "Waldo's" which allowed an operator to remotely manipulate things in another room by simply moving their hands and arms as if the objects being manipulated were in arms reach. The device was a powered extension of a human but was not autonomous. This old definition pretty much allowed any powered tool to be considered as a robot. I'm all for ditching the old definition and go with the Oxford dictionary one. (Continued)...

    March 25, 2013

  • A former member

    A former member removed the location. It was aloft Broomfield Denver

    March 25, 2013

  • A former member

    A former member changed the location to aloft Broomfield Denver

    March 25, 2013

  • Mike S.

    Would a meet up in Denver be out of the question. I was at the recent Denver new tech meet up at Galvanize. Otherwise I suggest Amante on Walnut, small but cozy. National robotics week starts April 6th.

    March 23, 2013

  • Carol N.

    A Robot Company needs a IP Log per Product & a Patent Notebook for Pay issues.

    March 23, 2013

  • Carol N.

    You could look at this as who Funds Robots: 1. NASA, 2. US Govt: Agriculture & other Departments, 3. College Technopolies, 4. Commercial needs

    March 23, 2013

  • Nikolaus C.

    I essentially picked a random date to keep this moving forward. Please step up and pick place and location! I'm waiting on our Baxter robot to arrive to have the next meetup at CU.

    March 21, 2013

  • Mike S.

    This is during the ColoradoFIRST regional, attendance might be a little light

    March 21, 2013

  • Paula N.

    Elder care robots are coming ... soon!

    Japan will probably be first.

    http://www.geckosystems.com/investors/GeckoSystems-Family_and_Health_Care_Markets.pdf

    March 19, 2013

  • Buzz M. R.

    Part 2:

    Soooo, 'WHAT' EXACTLY comprises a GOOD definition of 'robot'? The embodiment of a "designer's" purposeful pursuit? The 'emergence' of the emobodiment of a some kind of 'purpose-driven behavioral device or instrument' from the evolutionary 'inventiveness' of a society or culture of 'needy' population members?

    It's kinda like 'obscene material'....ya recognize it when ya see it (although, even here, what is 'obscene' may be very 'culturally context-dependent').

    So, again, I simply want to 'toss down the gauntlet' and propose a challenge to FIRST come up with a GOOD, WORKABLE definition of 'robot', and THEN discuss the varying classes and types of robots that may 'emerge' from this.

    Thanks for considering!.....

    Buzz

    March 15, 2013

  • Buzz M. R.

    Part 1:

    In preparation for this meetup, I think it would be useful to have a VERY CLEAR definition of the term 'robot'. Systems that employ input sensors, output effectors, and perform some kind of 'purposeful' transformation to connect these, come in many forms and variations. For example, ALL biological organizms fall into this description, yet are not considered robots (although many humans on production lines could be considered as behaving as 'robots'!, and there are many other examples of biological entities that, at times, go into 'robotic behavior' modes, as we've all probably experienced as some time or another!).

    I don't think the physical, nor informational, material(s) that a robot might be made of, per se, necessary would be a distinguising feature that defines a 'robot'.

    (Since this will exceed the 1000 char limit per post, it will continue on the next post, Part 2.)

    March 15, 2013

  • Tim R.

    Good idea.

    February 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I can't make the meetup, but here are some thoughts from my 20 years experience with robots.

    Joe Jones wrote the most elegant description of what a robot is: "The intelligent connection of sensors to actuators".

    See "robot" on Wikipedia [full disclosure, I wrote a small part of the article.]: "[robot] is an electric machine which has some ability to interact with physical objects and to be [programmed] to do a specific task or to do a whole range of tasks or actions. It may also have some ability to perceive and absorb data on physical objects, or on its local physical environment, or to process data, or to respond to various stimuli."

    Here are 3 ways to categorize robots to aid your discussion.
    1) Degree of autonomy (mechanized, tele-operated, semi-autonomous, autonomous)
    2) Mission/Purpose/Motivation (dirty/dangerous, productivity, elder-care, telepresence, research, entertainment, etc.)
    3) Fixed/Mobile (land, sea, air, space, swarms, nano, etc.)

    Have fun!

    February 6, 2013

  • Buzz M. R.

    YES! I think this would certainly be an interesting exploration for the 'venue categorization' and application of 'automation machinery' of ALL sorts. Automomous navigable devices, informational 'devices', stationary in-place 'worker' devices, educational 'devices', 'companionship' devices, 'communicative' devices (broadcast or 'personal'), are just some of the 'major' categories under which 'robots' may be classified. ANYTHING that can 'accept' INPUTS (whether via deterministic command OR sensory acquisition) and can produce an OUTPUT behavior (whether a physical action OR informational 'report') via some I/O TRANSFORMATION (whether by math, logic, or 'brain'), can be 'turned into' a 'ROBOTIC' SYSTEM of some sort.....it's all a matter of ultimate intended (and oftentimes, UNintended!) PURPOSE. This kind of meetup could provide some innovative inspiration for inventors, developers, and us robot enthusiasts.

    Nice idea!!.....

    Buzz

    November 14, 2012

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