Profitable Robotics

As I browsed the Internet for something interesting to blog about, I came across an interview on NPR with a science blogger named Dave Mosher. Mosher was sharing with an NPR reporter his knowledge on a baseball-catching robot constructed at the Institute of Robotics and Mechanics at the Garman Aerospace Center. This robot has the ability to “see” and calculate speed, direction and time of landing to catch two balls at the same time. They then began to talk about a robot that could prepare a meal on it’s own. Both of these robots are have not been developed enough to conduct activities at the sophistication level of humans. For example, the cooking robot can’t wash dishes after cooking and the baseball-catching robot can’t yet run far or pick a ball up from the ground in order to actually play baseball. Mosher told the interviewer that the ball-catching robot will take much less time and effort to do the work of a baseball player than it will for the cooking robot to conduct the various actions that a human would while cooking. But what was interesting to me was that when asked which robot will develop faster, Mosher answered, ”We want robots in our kitchens. We already have ball-playing robots. They’re just fleshier and get paid lots of money. Think how much money you’d make if you got a machine to load the dishwasher…” It comes as no surprise to me that scientists want to develop the most practical objects, but is money their primary concern? Of course scientists, inventors and innovators need their work to be funded somehow, but if they are working harder towards making a personal profit rather than benefitting others, isn’t there a chance we are missing out on some useful but cheap technologies that no one wants to develop? What do you think, readers? Might we be deprived of things that could be invented but no one wants to invest his or her time and effort in? Let me know!

Written by Eden Ketema

NPR interview can be found at: http://n.pr/lW9CZL

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