Dumb Scorpion Robot Treks the Mojave

Posted 3 May 2001 at 17:44 UTC by The Swirling Brain Share This

UPI says that for robot locomotion that dumb robots are better!. The Biomimetic Autonomous Robots (BAR) Team plans to send this robot out 40 kilometers across the Mojave Desert to find a target and then find it's way 40km back out. The robot will use little more than a map, a compass to find it's way in and out of the desert. You can read about an earlier article here. You can see a nice picture of the scorpion robot here. Here's some similar working going on at NorthEastern University.

If the robot uses sonar for obstacle avoidance can it still be called a "dumb" robot?

Dumb?, posted 3 May 2001 at 22:25 UTC by josborn » (Journeyer)

Yeah, seems to me like being able to use a map and a compass qualifies it as "smart." From what I've observed in the computer world, dumb usually means something that doesn't do any processing/decision making on their own (like a dumb terminal that just displays what it gets from another computer). This makes BattleBots "dumb." I also don't understand why they say that it's going to be "simple reflexes" if it's complex navigation using a map and compass.

Dumb and Dumber, posted 4 May 2001 at 12:36 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

Yep, it doesn't seem too dumb to me for a robot to be able to navigate the Mojave. I think they were just trying to say that scorpions use mainly reflexes to navigate and not brains to navigate and they were somehow trying to relate that to the scorpion bot. It doesn't sound to me like they're robot is using reflexes, though, it sounds more like full blown navigating skills. Must be something with those journalists trying to sensationalize everything? In a computer brain, though, it's hard to determine what's a computer brain and what's a computer reflex. My robots aren't seemingly as smart that it could navagate the mojave, so my robots must be even much dumber than theirs.

On a side note:
I think it's interesting how most robots focus on navigation rather than all other aspects of robotics such as arms, grabbing, vision, AI, etc. I mean you can find tons of robots that try to navigate, but fewer that do much else. I suppose we don't feel something is a robot if it's just an autonomous arm or if it's just an autonomous eyeball. We think it has to navigate to be a robot.

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