Consider that many elderly people
use pill dispensers, food blenders,
and other electric/electronic support
for their activities of daily living.
Why not automate these systems?
For example, what would a robotic
system look like that’s integrated
with, say, a refrigerator? Imagine
that you’re in your 90’s, mentally
agile of course, but the old body
just isn’t cooperating. You want to
get that 15-pound turkey out of the
refrigerator in preparation for
Thanksgiving or some other event,
so you simply ask the refrigerator.
The attached arm(s) move past the
wilted lettuce and fermenting
leftovers to retrieve the turkey and
place it on the counter beside the
refrigerator (and then goes in to
clean out the refrigerator). We all
have refrigerators, we all have to
pull things in and out, and we
probably all wish we were all doing
something else when it comes to
cleaning. The perfect robot!
Not so fast. We all know that
it’s cheaper to hire someone to
come in and fix meals and clean out
the refrigerator every few days. And
regardless of the innovations out
there, if the robotic solutions are
too expensive, they won’t be used.
So think innovation and
My bets are in military robotics,
which presents developers with a
virtually unlimited universe of
possibilities. Consider the foot
soldiers. They’re lugging a heavy
gun out in the field, anyway.
Someone might as well give it some
intelligence, such as the ability to
shoot the enemy semi-autonomously.
Although I’m not sure that I’d
entrust my life to an autonomous
gun, I think you get the idea. I
challenge you to invent or at least
apply an integrated robotics solution
— similar in concept to the video
game/robotics marriage — in the
field of your choice. As always, let
me hear from you with your article
ideas and submissions. SV
SERVO 08.2009 7