While science fiction film fans the world over will be celebrating the fantastical world portrayed in the Star Wars films, scientists Down Under currently are working on robotics that are positioned to help the real world.
Director of CSIRO’s Autonomous Systems Labs Jonathan Roberts stated that robotic scientists are working on assistive robots that will help industry professionals in increasing efficiency, improving safety and generally doing their jobs better. He added that the droids seen in Star Wars and real-life robots are both similar and different.
“Robots on Earth today tend to be made for very specific tasks and are not particularly easy to train to perform activities outside their intended scope,” he said. “However, we are currently developing robotic systems which are designed to assist people in a variety of circumstances.”
Roberts pointed out that robots are especially suited to food processing and other production environments. Some are designed to work alongside people working in factory environments; others take over tasks that are too dangerous or impractical for humans to perform.
Among the robots that CSIRO is working on:
- Telepresence robot: this robot will move around a real environment and enable viewers to witness via broadband connection.
- Starbug: This inexpensive, miniature autonomous underwater vehicle is suited for data collection and ecosystem surveys, obtaining data from locations humans cannot feasibly travel to.
- Hexapod Robot: Resembling an insect, this multilegged robot can monitor and map uneven terrain, detecting and climbing over obstacles.
CSIRO also has announced it plans to release a whitepaper during National Manufacturing Week (7-10 May) detailing additional ways robotics can assist food processing and other manufacturing sectors.