Robotics


This is a really nice example of the virtual and physical worlds merging. The bots are made from 22 pieces and are controlled from an external computer. But the real question is, are they robots?

Typically when we think about a robot we automatically assume that it is self contained to some extent. It has some means of locomotion – wheels, legs, or tracks, a source of power, some sensors, and a brain to control it all. But what about robots where the intelligence isn’t ‘on-board’? Are they still ‘robots’? If the answer is no, then how would you classify them?

Virtual soccer bots – Link

12 thoughts on “Soccer bots combine both worlds

  1. Of course they are still robots!

    Don’t try to foist your archaic ‘processing-unit-has-to-be-contained-within-the-body’ views upon us now that we finally have communication links fast and small enough to remotely control multiple units at once. :)

    I suppose each bot *could* also be thought of as sort of limb for a single robot but that really depends on whether you class the computer/software controlling them as a single brain or multiple brains each existing in a different thread or timeslice on the CPU.

    It makes sense to me to centrally control smaller bots due to processing constraints and easier integration of multiple information sources.

  2. The problem here is that “robot” may be defined a few different ways, here are three that come to mind:

    (1) A bomb disposal team will use a “robot” to inspect, disable, or transport a suspicious package to determine what it is, and render it safe. These are usually controlled remotely by humans. In this case “robot” is simply a complex tool. It may appear to be moving autonomously, but it isn’t. Many “battle bots” fit into this category, controlled with standard RC systems.

    (2) A more common definition is a device that carries out a task autonomously, without user intervention, such as assembly line robots, sumo bots, etc.

    (3) Other robots may have no physical parts (software web bots, like spiders, etc.)

    The Soccer bot(s) here seem to span them all. There is a software component(3) operating autonomously, that is controlling mechanical components remotely(1), to create an autonomous system that works in the physical realm(2). (A robot made of a software bot controlling remote control robots)

    So yes, I consider it/them (a) robot(s).

  3. @ash

    I was thinking something similar to you your “limb” theory. Even if these individual bots are not robots (which I think they are) they would still be part of the bigger robot, just remote “parts”

  4. If one program controls all of them, then call them drones.

    I had a long post describing differences between drones, robots etc, bot it was eaten by your captcha system… :/

  5. If we’ve learned something from starcraft, is that alien species (aka zerg) may have a collective sentience (i.e overmind and cerebrates.
    So, if Zergs can do that and still be called living beigns, robots should also be able to ;-)

    Also, they are just as any other normal robot… they have sensors (to get the commands wireless) they do have a processing unit (that processes the wireless signal), actuators, etc..
    They just are commanded by a more “intelligent”, actuatorless robot.

    Or the other way to see it, is that they are part of a bigger robot, just as the limb thing Ash was talking about.

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