Wired has an article that lists their picks for the 50 best
robots ever. Who could really agree on a list such as this but it's
reminisce about which robots are the 50 best. It's not a perfect list
either; for example: It looks like R2-D2 made
it to the list, but C3PO didn't. Also, it's obviously not just the
that made the list, but an anything goes type of list. So with that in
mind, check it out and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
I can believe it, Stanford the most important robot and the Carnegie
Mellon didnt ever made it to the list?... pathetic.
General reporter + Technical article = Absolute mess
It seems like the "Best" word doesn't really mean the performance or
level of technology, yet rather the innovative idea...
Many of them on the list are those of the robotic exploring and
classic period. Anyway, I am glad someone is trying to come up with a
list... very interesting list actually
Let me first state the my views expressed here are of my own only,
but… Dont even get me started on DARPAs Grand Challenge this past
year. While I respect those who participated, Im just so disappointed
with how 'dumb down' the game challenge had to become to get people to
actually finish the race. Take the spread two years ago. Let's call
them 1 st Gen Teams. The best team (CMUs team) made it like 7 miles
and their Hummer ultimately caught fire after it high centered.
Everyone else embarrassed the robotics world as they, collectively,
barley made it off the starting line. Where was this super high tech
robotics community that is so syndicated? Fast forward to last years
teams, appropriately we'll call them 2 nd Gen Teams. Five teams
finished the 130 some odd mile trek and four finished under the 10
hour time limit. What???Huh? What massive developments in technology
allowed these miraculous changes for people to finish? One might argue
that the added year of testing is enough to justify the better
finishes. I'm not here to downplay the value of testing. Trust me, I
understand testing and the benefits therein, but let's be realistic.
The total miles completed by all the 1 st Gen teams, and let's be
liberal, totaled prolly less than 10 miles. Total miles completed by
2nd Gen teams, and let's be conservative, was probably around 1000
miles. One year's worth of testing accounted for 100x in the amount of
miles collectively completed by the teams? In the spirit of the
season, 'Bah-Humbug.' I don't think so. Enter media pressure to the
show. The media had hyped up the DARPA Grand Challenge so much that
after an abysmal showing of robotic contestants, the game was
alternated to have more success stories. Let's look at a little known
fact. The day of the race, teams were literally allowed to download a
waypoint map (over 3000 points I might add) from the starting location
to the final destination. So now the only thing 2 nd Gen teams had to
do was automate a truck (pah-leeze) and close a position loop around a
GPS signal and have it avoid some obstacles for 60 meters at a time.
Effin lame if you ask me. And now this is worth recognition as one of
the greatest robotic achievements of the 21 st century? Since when
does DARPA sell out to get good press? Since when does DARPA reduce
the scope of a challenge to make it easier for people to do? DARPA
prides themselves on never taking on a task if there is a higher than
10% success rate. They only attempt the really, really hard problems?
Give me an effin break. What surprises me is that everyone didn't
finish. That just reinforces how freakin lame most of the robotic
community actually is when it comes to mobile navigation. If Im not
mistaken, 1st Gen Teams weren't given much data and only told to
head 'That-away.' And, as empirical evidence showed, teams could
hardly automate a truck let alone head 'that-away'. What is more
depressing is this is being hailed in the media as such a novel
achievement. Has it always been this way? Have most of our amazing
achievements only been a shred of what they were hyped to be? I mean,
I think we landed on the moon. What I'm really tired of is reading
technology magazines, and now having some insight into the projects
they write about, knowing how 'off' they actually are. When are we
gonna fess up and say we ain't really as advanced in robotics as we
think we are and start owning up to it. These habitual oversights and
denials will continue to push us further and further behind real
roboticists, like say the Japanese.
I dont want to sound like I dont respect the work that went into
finishing the DARPAs challenge, believe me I do. I just dont want to
shy away from the really hard problems that we face today in robotics,
like true autonomous mobile navigation. Ask me to get from Calitown,
USA to Vegas and I can sure as hell bet you I wouldnt require a GPS
point every 60 meters.