Movies like Bicentennial Man an A.I. seem like farfetched scenarios, however they have quite accurately predicted at least the direction robotics technology is going today. Robotics innovations have been changing many different arenas, but industrial labor production has just recently been affected by the Swiss company ABB. They have recently come out with a new robot named FRIDA “Designed for assembly applications, FRIDA is capable of using its human-like arms to grasp and manipulate electronic components and other small parts. The machine is a concept robot that ABB created to show off its vision for a new kind of industrial robot.”
FRIDA is innovative specifically in its physical design. Most robotics technologies are large, complex, and tough to reprogram. ABB’s new robot comes with a compact handle for carrying, is lightweight and small, and because of this is easy to reprogram. The machine is innovative very specifically because it could theoretically replace human labor in assembly line industrial complexes and factories.
FRIDA is not the only example of this kind of robot that very specifically is used for small tasks that usually human hands have been known to do. A company in Japan has made the Sd10d, which is bigger and therefore requires more safety procedures.
An ethical issue comes up with the advent of this kind of technology. Should we start replacing human labor with mechanical labor? On the one hand it could prevent labor exploitation in sweatshops of the third-world countries, but on the other it could take jobs away from people who have not been trained for more specialized work.
Though FRIDA hasn’t even been priced or implemented in the factory setting we can see its possible implications almost as if they were in the futuristic movies we see all the time.
Written by: Sergey Chikvashvili