June 2004

Robotics: Mobility, Reflexes and Teamwork
45 pages

This report examines the current state of robotics technologies, organizes key issues and puts them in context, and succinctly explains how these technologies work.

Research lab robot prototypes range from autonomous cars to the latest attempts at humanoids to artificial insects to lilliputians that measure less than a millimeter.

The keys to making robots much more useful than today's commercial models are mobility and autonomy. These traits encompass many scientific and engineering challenges: practical dynamic balancing schemes for robots with legs, ways to manipulate objects without hurting them, more efficient power sources and power use, better sensors and better ways to interpret sensor data, more sophisticated navigation strategies, and coordination with other robots and with humans.

The report includes an executive summary, a list of 21 developments to look for as these cutting-edge technologies take shape and a section of 32 researchers to watch, including links to their Web pages. It also includes a quick tour of 32 recent developments and a section of 27 in-depth news stories from TRN.

The main report contains the following sections: Machines like us, Autonomy and utility, Getting around - walking, hopping, slithering and flying, Opening doors, Snakes, frogs and bugs, Buzzing around, Getting a grip, Source of strength, Do you see how I see?, Finding the way, Making decisions, All together now, Is it a he or a she?, Lilliputians, The shape of things to come, Coming home.

The in-depth news stories are organized into the following categories: Mobility, Manipulation, Perception, Navigation, Decision-Making, Coordination, Human-Robot Interaction, Microrobots, Self-Building/Self-Shaping.

TRN's Making the Future reports contain live links, and can be read on a computer, printed and archived.

Buy the the Robotics report for $89.
. You will receive download instructions via email.

Report Sections

Executive Summary:
295 words

Main Report:
4,213 words

How It Works:
451 words

In-Depth Stories:
27 stories, including 30 images

Table of Contents:

Main Report
Machines like us
Autonomy and utility
Getting around walking, hopping, slithering and flying
Opening doors
Snakes, frogs and bugs
Buzzing around
Getting a grip
Source of strength
Do you see how I see?
Finding the way
Making decisions
All together now
Is it a he or a she?
The shape of things to come
Coming home

How It Works

Big picture
Bread crumbs
How it looks from here

In-Depth Story Categories
Human-Robot Interaction

Take a look at all available Making the Future reports.

View a four-page sample of the Making the Future report (pdf).

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