21st Century Robotics (Scientific American Special Online by Scientific American

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Ple. Others, such as robotic lawnmowers and pool cleaners, aim to do a single task in a highly controlled environment. The next step up is to do a single task in a highly uncontrolled environment, and the most obvious candidate for that is vacuuming. Over the past several years, a number of companies have promised to roll out floor-cleaning robots. A few of them have even delivered. Apart from DustBot, a cheap but clever toy made by the Japanese company Tomy, the first consumer robot that could vacuum was Cye.

Clutching the box tightly, I rushed to the office of my colleague George Musser and shouted, “It’s here! ” George beamed like a kid on Christmas morning and immediately tore the box open. Inside was a footlong, three-pound machine that looked like a Jack Russell terrier wearing gray plastic armor. Sony Electronics had bred the robotic dog in its research laboratories in Japan; the name “Aibo” (pronounced EYE-bo) means “pal” or “companion” in Japanese and is also a rough acronym for Artificial Intelligence Robot.

His current work focuses on enabling robots to determine their position and to navigate by a three-dimensional awareness of their surroundings. VEHICLES: EXPERIMENTS IN SYNTHETIC PSYCHOLOGY. Valentino Braitenberg. MIT Press, 1984. AI: THE TUMULTUOUS HISTORY OF THE SEARCH FOR ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Daniel Crevier. Basic Books, 1993. ROBOT: MERE MACHINE TO TRANSCENDENT MIND. Hans Moravec. Oxford University Press, 1999. 32 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN EXCLUSIVE ONLINE ISSUE MAY 2004 COPYRIGHT 2004 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INC.

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