Robots that can replace human assistants might seem like a Hollywood gimmick, but it is actually a current four-year project that is being funded by the European Union. Considered to be a “World Wide Web” for robots, RoboEarth is an immersive network where robots can share information and learn new skills from each other. Phillips partnered with five European universities to introduce a system that could ultimately replace human intervention in complicated tasks, such as nursing patients and caring for the elderly.
A public demonstration of the system will showcase the advancements in robotics technology. Each of the four robots will be given a different task. For example, one robot could image the room upon entering and upload the scanned layout to the system’s cloud-database. A second robot unfamiliar with the room’s layout could then use the information to locate an item without rescanning the room.
Rene van de Molengraft, the leader of the RoboEarth project, wants the project to develop into a kind of programmable common brain for robots. He says, ”A task like opening a box of pills can be shared on RoboEarth, so other robots can also do it without having to be programmed for that specific type of box.”
While the system is an example of how robots can help humans more efficiently, it also calls into question the idea of machines evolving to rival human intelligence. Experts believe robot assistants are likely to find their way into our homes in 10 years, but with growing security concerns, added safeguards need to be in place before robots are employed domestically.