Robots working with Robots
// Posted by Molly on 03/02/2012 (1:16 PM)
I started watching Vijay Kumar’s TED Talk presentation about tiny robots that can fly because I thought it sounded futuristic and really interesting. I didn’t think they would be advanced enough to do more than the toy helicopter I bought my father for Christmas last year, but I was willing to hear him out. The science behind the tiny flying robots was too much for me to comprehend, but Kumar discussed how the robots could be used in real world situations. It reminds me of the documentary Why We Fight because it seems like an idea that is really worth pursuing for both the military and government. The flying robots are small enough to explore spaces that humans would not be able to fit in. Kumar gave examples of a robot acting as a first responder, identifying potential threats in a building, damage, and biochemical leaks. I was reminded of Why We Fight because our military is constantly working on ways to obtain information and carry out military commands without putting our own soldiers in danger. By utilizing these flying robots, the US government could save money on the equipment that soldiers need to explore buildings, search for people, and identify possible dangers. Most importantly, the robots could save lives by lessening the danger of exploring the unknown in a foreign country.
The robots become even more valuable when they work together because they are able to cooperate with each other to carry out goals. The technology was modeled after ants that were able to carry an object by sensing both each other and the object without formally communicating. In the talk, Kumar shows videos of the robots carrying larger objects together, flying in formation, and even building a simple structure by programming the robots with only the blueprint of the finished product. Though the robots would be expensive and require a lot of time and attention to properly train, I believe they would be well worth it. Kumar concluded his TED Talk with a music video of the robots playing instruments and working together to perform a song. Though his presentation ended on a lighter note, I think he opened his audiences eyes to the possibilities of this technology and how valuable it could be in the future.
I think in 10 or 15 years, this kind of technology could replace some of our soldiers, save money on military expenses, and become a safer and more effective way of carrying out missions in other countries. What do you think our government would think about replacing soldiers with these robots? After hearing President Eisenhower’s speech in Why We Fight, do you think he would have the same ideas about these robots as our government today?