Do Colonials dream of electric sheep?
Why daydream about the future when you can actively shape it? And not just through policy and activism, but by creating the robots that can take over tasks that humans couldn’t or shouldn’t do.
Robotics researchers at GW are working to build machines that will pull victims from rubble, walk alongside U.S. soldiers, perform difficult surgery, or just lend a claw around the house for those in need. Of course, those goals all come with unique challenges.
That’s why Gabe Sibley is teaching robots to see, so a robot moving through the woods can avoid trees or stepping in the wrong place or a self-driving car can drive in degraded conditions like rain or darkness. It’s why Pinhas Ben-Tzvi is working on search-and-rescue robots that can act and react, help without causing more harm, flip over without immobilizing itself, flex without snapping, and even disassemble into smaller robots to fit through smaller openings and then reassemble once inside. It’s why Evan Drumright is developing robots that can change lightbulbs, carry objects of varying weights and shapes, and open all kinds of doors when even human beings don’t always know whether to push or pull.
But before the robots can walk through that door, researchers at GW need to endow them with the perception, control and mechanics required to assimilate into society.