MASTERCLASS

Introduction to robotics

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I mentioned early about the human fascination with building machines in our own image. This is an amazing project out of the Osaka University. One of these characters is a Japanese robotic researcher and the other one is a robot. See if you can tell which one is which. Perhaps the best-known humanoid robot is Asimo built by Honda the car company.

Here we see a pair of humanoid robots out of a Chinese university playing ping-pong with each other and apparently they're able to do rallies that last up to a hundred and seventy six strokes. We see some quite competent behaviour in these humanoid robots and in the last one, the ability to walk, the ability to use hand eye control to perform a complex task like ping-pong.

Robotic researchers are working on mimicking almost all aspects of the human form. People working on leg the locomotion, there are people working on hands and manipulation and eyes and heads and so on, so bit by bit we're able to mimic or copy different parts of the human body and the really big challenge for us as robotics is how do we integrate all these into one system that is reliable and can be manufactured for a cost that is affordable for people on the planet.

Here is an example of a very human like robotic hand. It's got four fingers and an applause-able thumb. It has force sensors so it was able to control the forces that it exerts on object. So it's able to manipulate delicate things like the light bulb shown here. Bit by bit, over the decades, roboticists have built up a large inventory of different technologies. We've been building hands, we've been building vision systems that mimic the human sense of sight. We've been building heads, we've been building legs. We understand how to walk, we understand how to manipulate objects.

So the big challenge for roboticists today is how do we integrate all these component technology in a way that is reliable, that is affordable and that gives us the functionality approaching that of a human being.

We have a deep fascination with machines created in our own image. Let’s explore the world of humanoid robots.

Professor Peter Corke

Professor of Robotic Vision at QUT and Director of the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision (ACRV). Peter is also a Fellow of the IEEE, a senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and on the editorial board of several robotics research journals.

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