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Introduction

Robotics is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering and science that includes mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineering, computer science, and others. Robotics deals with the design, construction, operation, and use of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing.

These technologies are used to develop machines that can substitute for humans and replicate human actions. Robots can be used in many situations and for lots of purposes, but today many are used in dangerous environments (including bomb detection and deactivation), manufacturing processes, or where humans cannot survive (e.g. in space). Robots can take on any form but some are made to resemble humans in appearance. This is said to help in the acceptance of a robot in certain replicative behaviors usually performed by people. Such robots attempt to replicate walking, lifting, speech, cognition, and basically anything a human can do. Many of today's robots are inspired by nature, contributing to the field of bio-inspired robotics.

The concept of creating machines that can operate autonomously dates back to classical times, but research into the functionality and potential uses of robots did not grow substantially until the 20th century. Throughout history, it has been frequently assumed by various scholars, inventors, engineers, and technicians that robots will one day be able to mimic human behavior and manage tasks in a human-like fashion. Today, robotics is a rapidly growing field, as technological advances continue; researching, designing, and building new robots serve various practical purposes, whether domestically, commercially, or militarily. Many robots are built to do jobs that are hazardous to people, such as defusing bombs, finding survivors in unstable ruins, and exploring mines and shipwrecks. Robotics is also used in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) as a teaching aid. The advent of nanorobots, microscopic robots that can be injected into the human body, could revolutionize medicine and human health.

Robotics is a branch of engineering that involves the conception, design, manufacture, and operation of robots. This field overlaps with electronics, computer science, artificial intelligence, mechatronics, nanotechnology and bioengineering.

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KITT (an acronym for Knight Industries Two Thousand) is the name of a fictional computer that controls the high-tech Knight 2000, a black Pontiac Trans Am T-top automobile in the science fiction television series Knight Rider. The show stars David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight and was produced in the 1980s. The voice for KITT was provided by St. Elsewhere and 1776 star William Daniels.

KITT's main cybernetic processor was first installed in a mainframe computer used by the United States government in Washington D.C.. However, Wilton saw better use for "him" in the Foundation's crime-fighting crusade and eventually the system was installed in the vehicle. KITT was in fact the second vehicle built by Knight Industries with artificial intelligence. His predecessor was KARR (the Knight Automated Roving Robot). KITT is loaded with special features such as the commonly-used Turbo Boost, which allows quick bursts of speed or jumping over obstacles. KITT could also drive himself, but perhaps his most distinct and recognizable aspect was his front mounted scan bar which, among other things, allowed KITT to "see".

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Credit: NASA, CAST
Anchored to a foot restraint on the International Space Station's robotic arm, STS-114 Mission Specialist Steve Robinson participates in the mission's third spacewalk.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be defined as the study of methods by which a computer can simulate aspects of human intelligence. One aim of this study is to design a computer that might be able to reason for itself. Another aspect of AI is the ability of the computer to search knowledge in a database for the best possible reply to a question, because this has strong parallels with the way that we solve problems ourselves.

AI divides roughly into two schools of thought: Conventional AI and Computational Intelligence.Conventional AI mostly involves methods now classified as machine learning, characterized by formalism and statistical analysis. This is also known as symbolic AI, logical AI, neat AI and Good Old Fashioned Artificial Intelligence (GOFAI).

News

August 2012

6th

  • Touchdown! 05:32 UTC, though with the delay touchdown was actually at 05:18 UTC
  • 500m, rockets working, 40m altitude, skyframe started...
  • Parachute has opened, on finals, 6.5 km height ...
  • The MSL has separated and has started its entry to Mars. UHF feed is established, and data processed from Odyssey, with 11G entry load. More ...

2nd

  • Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) begins final testing for landing Curiosity on Mars, planned for 5 August. If any trajectory corrections are necessary, these will take place later today. More ...
  • The US Navy announces that one of its MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter UAV's has chased pirates off the Somali coast. The USS Klakring has four of the UAVs onboard, returning the series of helicopters to operational status after a " pause" following some technical issues. More ...
  • A robot that can land the right way up like a cat. The University of Pennsylvania reveal a paper on their self-righting robot. More ...

1st

  • A 13' 9000lb robot which can auto-track targets and shoot them with it's gatling guns or 6 shot launcher when the driver smiles? More ...
  • Willow Garage's Personal Robot 2 (PR2) aims to help people in various home-based tasks and is customisable for specific customers and their needs. There has been previous footage of the robot folding towels which became popular in the internet. More ...
  • The US Navy attempts to teach a robot plane, the X-47B UCAS (Unmanned Combat Air System), to take-off and land on an aircraft carrier. More ...


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