Our enduring fascination for robots and robotic technology reflects in pop culture through works such as I, Robot; Wall-E; Ghost in the Shell, and many others. Perhaps, the appeal is greatly fueled by our growing desire to see how the field of robotics will factor into our immediate future. And while we imagine at length, innovative enterprisesall over the world have researched extensively and launched prototypes for a near-future that closely involves such robots.
In fact, a partnership between Japanese company Softbank and French company Aldebaran has resulted in the creation of Softbank Robotics America (SBRA). Out of SBRA’s first endeavors in the waves of robotics and smart technology are humanoid companion robots, which are said to be flourishing in the medical, educational, and service industries. Here’s a fun fact on that matter: Softbank Robotics’ official mascot is an adorable service robot named Pepper who can analyze voices, expressions, and vocabulary to learn human emotions, and who can move expressively with humanlike body language.
Other leaders in the fields of robotics project that the usage of humanoid robots will peak by the 2020s. As per Berg Insight, as many as 29.6 million service robots were already installed worldwide, and this number is expected to multiply to as much as 264.3 million by 2026. You can bet, however, that current engineering technologies such as brushless DC motors for robotics are keeping right up. Miniature motors enhance the efficiency and power density for a future generation of humanoid robots that are agile, intelligent, and high-performing.
Massive manufacturing of humanoid robots is said to be spearheaded by the industries of computers and electronics; electrical equipment and appliances; transportation equipment; and machinery. These industries are projected to manufacture 75% of all robotic installations in as near a future as 2025.
What other future applications can we see of humanoid robots? Here’s a short list of the fields that humanoid robots can soon serve en masse.
Sciences and engineering. The possibilities are endless for humanoid robots to work hand-in-hand with humans in clinics, laboratories, or factories. In the field of medicine, for example, companion robots will be a boon to patients as much as surgical robots will be to surgery practitioners. Humanoid robots will increase the consistency, productivity, and precision in many scientific activities. It is especially in these fields that high-powered, high-performing robots will contribute tremendously.
Education. Humanoid robots also have many applications in the field of education. Initiatives have already been launched to use robotic platforms for academic purposes, such as how Softbank’s NAO helps teachers acquaint students with programming. Robots have also been singled out as having high potential in the sub-field of special education, particularly in the treatment of autism.
Commerce. The commercial uses of humanoid robots, throughout the industries, spans from telecommunications, to electronics, and even to entertainment—such as with assistance robots, tele presence robots, robots used for movies, and the like. Businesses of all kinds can dictate the manufacturing of humanoid robots that will serve a number of specific functions, and the industries will tailor-fit accordingly.
Service and domestic usage. It is heartening to know that many robotic products have been engineered for home, garden, or farm usage—such as with floor cleaning robots, automated lawnmower robots, and unmanned aerial vehicles, all of which have dictated the manufacturing of at least a million units each. In this vein, new humanoid robots that will be developed in the future have great potential to be part of our domestic lives.
Of course there is a caveat: if the issue is about artificial intelligence, it is noted that most artificial intelligence does not need a body to work.There is much work to be done to integrate robotics seamlessly with everyday human life. But with all of the incoming developments, it’s safe to say that we have a bright—and intelligent—future to look forward to.