Researchers are now finding ways for robots to utilize cloud computing as a means of accessing immense amounts of data that would allow them to perform a variety of flexible roles.
James Kuffner, associate professor of the Robotics Institute in Carnegie Mellon University and a member of the Google Car Project, is exploring various cloud computing ideas for robots, which includes using small mobile devices as Internet-enabled brains for robots. His colleagues also showcased an Android-powered software that “allows an Android phone to control robots based on platforms like Lego Mindstorms, iRobot Create, and Vex Pro.”
IEEE Spectrum reports:
Several research groups are exploring the idea of robots that rely on cloud-computing infrastructure to access vast amounts of processing power and data. This approach, which some are calling “cloud robotics,” would allow robots to off-load compute-intensive tasks like image processing and voice recognition and even download new skills instantly, Matrix-style.
Imagine a robot that finds an object that it’s never seen or used before—say, a box of cornflakes. The robot could simply send an image of the box to the cloud and receive the object’s name, a 3-D model, nutritional information, and instructions on how to pour it.
For conventional robots, every task—moving a foot, grasping things, recognizing a face—requires a significant amount of processing and preprogrammed information. As a result, sophisticated systems such as humanoid robots need to carry powerful computers and large batteries to power them.