Extreme Robotics Conference through the eyes of a student

Good evening.

On October 1-2, the conference "Extreme Robotics" was held in St. Petersburg. I want to describe my impressions of my first participation in such an event, as well as thoughts and ideas that I remember. I am looking at this event through the eyes of a 3rd-year student of the Department of Robotic Systems.

Conference program

First, a few words about the program. On the first day, a plenary meeting was held at which the main trends in the development of robotics were announced. It was here that I tried to find out for myself what was needed now, what I needed to strive for.

The second day was devoted to breakout sessions:

  1. Theory and development;
  2. Management and information support;
  3. Poster reports of the youth school-seminar.

Visit purpose

Despite the name of the conference, it is not limited only to robotics used in extreme conditions. To some extent, it covered all topics, including philosophical ones.

Why did I attend this conference? First of all, I wanted to understand what areas of robotics are now worth working on, which areas have already been developed in Russia, and what issues are currently being worked on.

What interesting thoughts I heard

1) Mimic accents and non-verbal transmission of information. Gestures, facial expressions, eyes - all this plays a big role in our interaction with each other. However, robots are still far from ideal in this area. Sometimes humanoid robots expressing emotions look scary and frightening. Is such credibility necessary? In my opinion, a robot with its own gestures is the best solution. Take a look at Bender, the character of one famous animated series. His appearance is only slightly similar to human, however his facial expressions, movements very clearly express his condition.

2) The development of medical robots not only for surgical purposes, such as the Da Vinci robot, but also for other specialized tasks. In one of the presentations, a robot (or installation) was mentioned that allows you to do a heart massage. For reference: a doctor can effectively conduct a heart massage for about 5 minutes. Therefore, if you need to massage for 30 minutes, the patient is most likely doomed (for example, you need to deliver the person to the hospital), but with such a robot this problem disappears. The ideas of using robots are very interesting in such situations when it seems that the person himself can do, however, it turns out that using it can save a single life.

3) The idea of ​​the robots of scientists who themselves can make discoveries. Here you need to look narrowly, because so far there are no such robots that can invent “right and left”. As far as I understand, robots are tuned to some narrow task, they are looking for the most optimal solution for it, sorting through various options and as a result they can find a solution that would seem irrational to people at first glance.

4) It seems to be a hackneyed topic of service robots. They suggest using robots to teach young children through the game. The development of their necessary skills. The idea is good, but my opinion is that it is better to let a living person do it. And then personally I can’t imagine what the consequences could be if the child spends most of the time with the robot instead of people.

5) Now the control of robots is tough - the coordinates and speeds are precisely set (it is dangerous to enter the area of ​​the robot). However, there is a tendency towards elasticity, softness and reversibility of the movements of robots. For example, there is a robot and you want to shake his hand. Previously, the robot would reach out and you just shook it. And with this method, the robot arm will move smoothly in synchronization with yours.

6) The idea was voiced that, despite a sufficient number of developments in the field of saving people, the use of robots still did not give the desired result. For example, a snake robot has not yet reached a sufficient level to search for people under the rubble.

These are the general thoughts about robotics that I singled out for myself in plenary.

The sections considered specific tasks and their implementation in hardware and programs. Maybe next time I will write about them.

As a small result, we can say that people are following the development of robotics in the world and although our use is not so developed, they are still quite actively promoting and trying to find useful applications for it.

Perhaps you will find here any inaccuracies and erroneous definitions. I ask you not to judge strictly, because I stated my personal position and ideas about the things that I heard.

Thanks for attention.

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