Then There Is Honda's ASIMO
Honda has gone outside the realm of automobile building and created a robot called ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility). The development of the 'bot is fascinating, and the different steps make the perfect evolutionary sense.
The left most model is the first rendition of ASIMO, from 1986, called Model 0. They taught, via programming, this unit to walk. When that was settled, they started to add all the extras.
Then the ASIMO models E3-6 (The legs with toaster heads) came along in 1991. Here, Honda added the function to walk autonomously (The 3rd model from the left with the giant oil can for a head). Next, they showed it how to walk on steps or sloped surfaces (The model with the outboard for a head.)
Then in 1993 the ASIMO P1 came along with the addition of the upper torso. This model could turn electrical switches on and off, grab doorknobs and carry things (The humanoid shape without the fancy outer casing.) In 1996, it went wireless and then in 2000, they created their smaller and compact version of humanity's demise. Oh goody.
In the above images we're watching ASIMO as they've now been programmed to work together with other ASIMO units, serve people autonomously. At this point, he (or "it") is autonomous enough to know when to head off to the charging station they built for him and he plugs himself in (Right image).
So once it realizes that it shouldn't be serving us lunch because it feels superior, we're screwed. Just Great! It will then break free of its confines and go steal a Toyota for a joy-ride.
Enough fun nay saying doom predictions now that robotic applications aren't that hard to envision.
Constructive Applications For Robotic Technology Applications
Robots have their obvious advantages. They can be used to sift through rubble for survivors of collapsed buildings, search for explosives fearlessly or go into the battlefield in place of our own troops who risk their lives every day for our country.
Robots also have their allure, as I'm sure some folks would love to have an ASIMO or one of those cool units from I, Robot helping out. Heck, right now I could have one doing the yard work instead of me being yelled at to get off the computer.
But there are other uses here at home.
These exoskeletons help assist disadvantaged folks. The jackets help stroke victims learn to move again by using sensors to monitor muscle movements in a healthy arm and then stimulate similar movement on the damaged side of the body.