10 Robots You'll Be Happy To Call Master - InformationWeek

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4/4/2015
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David Wagner
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10 Robots You'll Be Happy To Call Master

National Robotics Week is April 4-12, and we'll be celebrating with you, starting with today's list of our favorite robots.
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Happy National Robotics Week. Museums, schools, cities, and even casinos will be celebrating the wonder of robots April 4-12, encouraging the investment in robotics, educating the public about the state of robotics, and inspiring the next generation of robotics engineers. We at InformationWeek will be celebrating with daily slideshows, articles, and a special episode of IT Life Radio on Wednesday, April 8 at 3:00 p.m. ET.

The IT community has always been one of the first to embrace new technologies, and robots are no different. InformationWeek has a long history of covering cutting-edge robots in manufacturing, healthcare, education, and leisure. It is only a matter of time before all of us work with a robot in one capacity or another. One of the questions we'll ask experts this week is how long it will be before we see robots in cubicles and data centers as a regular part of the IT business. My guess: That will happen in about seven years.

If you're not a robot fan, now would be a good time to get used to them. To kick off our robot week, I've compiled a roundup of my 10 favorite robots. Maybe you can find one that will get you excited about the future.

Here's a preview of the many ways we'll celebrate National Robotics Week with you:

  • Tom Claburn is covering the International RoboGames from San Mateo, CA. The event includes sumo robots, combat robots, soccer, hockey, and even firefighting robots. Claburn will have pictures from the event and hopefully some interviews with some of the teams. Tom will also cover robots in the travel and leisure industry, which is one of the places robots are making some of the most interesting strides as they have to learn to interact with humans.
  • Joe Stanganelli will cover one of the newest shifts in the robotics industry: The use of the cloud to support robots in the field. He will also discuss the phenomenon of the cultural backlash towards robots, which has included protests at tech events like SXSW. Joe will cover what the protesters are worried about, and whether their fears are founded. He'll also have an article about the greatest robots in entertainment, both good and evil, that might help us understand our current relationship with robots.
  • I'll be bringing you coverage from Novel Intelligent Medical and Robotics Devices Conference, and an article on the misuse of perfectly safe robots in frightening ways.

By the end of the week, we should all know robots a lot better. Check out the best of robots so far, and get ready to celebrate their future with National Robotics Week.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/9/2015 | 2:32:05 PM
Re: From Industry to Health Care: Robotics can Help
@technocrati- Well, maybe not entirely back to the drawing board. Maybe we just need to change our definition of robot. One thing I've seen used a lot are cute robots with faces that are intended to keep people calm. there is one being tested in Japan that has the face of a teddy bear. 

I wonder if instead, we should just make it look like a machine. On the other hand, the people working on this have data i don't have access to. I'll see if I can get some of it and see if the faces help.

Personally, I look at them and they remind me of Chucky or some other horror character that is so cute they are scary. :)
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
4/9/2015 | 2:08:32 PM
Re: From Industry to Health Care: Robotics can Help

@Dave    You are all over this !    I cannot disagree with your very valid concerns.

Back to the drawing board !

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
4/9/2015 | 2:06:25 PM
Re: From Industry to Health Care: Robotics can Help

@Dave    Agreed.   There has to be a better use of their time - maybe they can work on researching the effects of the thousands of medications and find those that will benefit more than harm.   

David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/9/2015 | 2:04:11 PM
Re: From Industry to Health Care: Robotics can Help
@Technocrati- Well, even if your used to it, some percentage of those in elder care have dimentia. I would think for someone with dimentia, this would be the stuff of nightmares.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
4/9/2015 | 2:01:49 PM
Re: From Industry to Health Care: Robotics can Help

That's a good point Dave, the Elderly would probably be freaked out about it.  While in a another 30 years or so it might be more acceptable, as us old guys will be really old by then.

David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/9/2015 | 1:22:02 PM
Re: From Industry to Health Care: Robotics can Help
@technocrati- I have no doubt this is a really great use of robots. My biggest concern is that if I were an elderly person and a massive robot came to lift me up, I'd be scared out of my mind. I'm wondering if this is a case where a non-robot technology attached to the bed itself makes more sense. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/9/2015 | 1:17:36 PM
Re: From Industry to Health Care: Robotics can Help
@Technocrati- I think this is a perfect example of a technology that frees up highly trained people rather than costs jobs. One thing that has always confused me about pharmacists is that they go through highly advanced training, many make six figures, but quite a few spend a fair amount of their time simply counting pills out of the big bottle and outting them in the smaller bottle. 

I don't fully understand the job of a pharmacisst, but I know that can't be the best use of their time. So hopefully this is an example of where humans and robots can work together to get an economic benefit and a quality of care benefit for all.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
4/9/2015 | 12:47:36 PM
Re: From Industry to Health Care: Robotics can Help
Speaking of a another Health Care use - I remember seeing that robots are being used to lift larger people who are bed ridden.  

This is yet another example of a practical use for robotics, and I am sure Nurses everywhere would appreciate it !
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
4/9/2015 | 12:43:44 PM
From Industry to Health Care: Robotics can Help
This is something long overdue.   Seeing the UCSF Pharmacy makes one think, " OF course !"   Not that I want anyone to lose their job over it but there has to be a way to use this concept in a "win-win" for everyone concerned.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
4/9/2015 | 12:36:55 PM
Robotics With Social Purpose
After a really fascinating recent IT Life radio show on robotics, I have a new appreciation for the potential of robotics.   I really like the social aspects of the technology.  Like the Zeno R25 referrenced here, which helps those with Autism - these are the kinds of efforts I applaud.
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