Christian Long

Dennis Hong: My Seven Species of Robot

In TED Talks on April 26, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Reflection by SYLVIA A.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Dennis Hong:  My Seven Species of Robot

Even though this talk was thoroughly interesting, the thing that grabbed my attention at first was the charismatic speaker, Dennis Hong.

I loved his excitement because it actually looked like he enjoyed what he was talking about. He wasn’t just listing off facts about robots and the mechanics of it all, he added personal emotion which immediately connected with the audience. It’s almost like I can imagine him as a child with that spark of interest in his eyes when he played with his first robot toy. This primal passion, formed during childhood is what produces such people like Hong. He pioneers his field and on the side is a gourmet chef and expert magician.

Needless to say, I feel like he still has a bit of kid-like qualities that add a certain enjoyable factor to his whole talk.

As these new prototypes are being developed you can see the advancement RoMeLA has made in the field of robotics. The seven species of robots they have developed create a relationship between biochemistry and robotics while almost validating the way we imagine robots to look like to ,according mass media, such as video games and movies. The reality of the function of the robots joined with the fantasy aspect of their physical appearance brings in a large audience who is interested in this topic. It also interests upcoming students and children with playfullness and wonder while also intellectually peaking interest in adults and others new to the field of robotics

Since these creations are inspired by nature it also creates a different atmosphere for the robotic field. They aren’t trying to create a whole new form of electronic robots, they are trying to imitate the human form as much as possible. What does this say about us? We humans like to create things that are as similar to us as possible. It makes us more comfortable with research and development in this field when we feel like robots aren’t so foreign after all.

Robots, as seen from this video, have very dynamic uses, like uses in geology, military, and domestic needs.

The scientists at RoMeLa are actually trying to “reinvent the wheel” as Hong says with their creation of IMPASS. That is a robot with a rimless wheel. It is being developed to detect the type of terrain and be capable of mobility based on the planned movement of spokes. CLIMBeR is a robot that can stabilize its movement which is used for climbing extremely difficult terrain. This will be able to help with scientific discovery on different and unpredictable lands and rescue missions. As previously stated, the modern convergence of biology and science are seen in the invention of the amoeba robot. Tactile sensors allow the
amoeba to move.

The most famous “star robot” is DARwIn. Why is this the star robot? It’s most likely because it has the most resemblance to human features out of all the robots. It’s even developed through human-like stages. The baby version had no sensors, and as time went by it progressed but was still dependant on an “umbilical cord” for survival and functioning. It then began getting stronger and stronger. It had been apart of robot soccer tournaments and has even conducted an orchestra. I feel like this robots will be getting more focus and attention as the years pass because it appeals to all the fun aspects of robots that humans enjoy and imagine their dream robot would really be like.

The robots are intelligent, but the people that create them are even smarter. Not only do they have incredible academic skill, but they then mold that skill with their innate talent and imagination to create these robots that will become a large part of the way the world works in the coming years.


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