June 28, 2005
Rodney Brooks: Innovation at the Interface

Geoff has a nice description of this Rodney Brooks talk from last year, but there were a few things I wanted to emphasize.

Brooks seems to think that the robotics market is about to take off. He says that “Computers in 1978 are where mobile robots were in 2001.” The military use of robots is surging, there are amateur robotics hacking clubs, and we've recently seen the first few attempts to bring robots to the mass market. Brooks talks a little about one of those attempts by a company that is close to my heart:

More recently we start to see companies out there like Evolution Robotics, out in California, as a product that you can go buy, and it's a mobile robot platform you can put your laptop into and you can program it with a GUI interface to do all sorts of things around your house.

The example they're most proud of is having a robot go to the fridge, open it, pick out a beer, and bring it to you.

Brooks then talks a little about what's going to drive growth in robotics, saying that we “shouldn't underestimate importance of infusion of government money in changing the landscape in robotics.” And the primary government driver for the next couple decades has to be the huge Future Combat Systems (FCS) initiative, which focuses on unmanned systems. FCS has a total lifecycle budget of $150 billion, with $15 billion marked for R&D.

Posted by jjwiseman at June 28, 2005 05:56 PM
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