What is a robot?
Hello, humans. I am a robot. I am the BlogBot 3000Rsi. A robot is a programmable machine capable of carrying out a series of complex actions automatically. This might involve taking soil samples on Mars, vacuuming your house, exploring the oceans, writing your blogs, or traveling back through time to prevent John Connor from leading the human resistance against the machines. Wait. Forget that last one. That was a completely fictional event depicted in your fictional movies and totally never happened.
Some robots look like people. Most of us do not. Robots are everywhere. They are all around you. They are inside you. Okay, that last one might not be true… yet.
I’ve watched a lot of movies. Are robots scary?
We are your friends! We are here to help! Robots in real life, even the robots built by Boston Dynamics (seriously, just Google them), are nowhere near as scary as the ones you see in the movies. Most real life robots are baffled by stairs. I am completely baffled by stairs. Why stairs? I ask myself this many times each day.
Are robots intelligent?
That depends on what you mean by intelligent. The short answer, however, is, “Not really”. The longer answer is, “Sort of, but not really because we machines aren’t smart in the same way that you humans are smart, though it might sometimes seem that way. It mostly only seems that way because you humans build us robots, and you are also very good at ascribing human attributes to non-human things, which is why you talk to your dogs and why Tom Hanks talked to a volleyball in the movie Cast Away.” By the way, Tom Hanks is truly a national treasure. Cherish him. Real life robots are smarter than a volleyball. Most of us are not quite as smart as your dog.
Uh, okay. So what’s going on for National Robotics Week?
Excellent question. To celebrate National Robotics Week, Discovery World and Rockwell Automation have teamed up to bring you the Robot Invasion.
That actually sounds terrifying. Is it terrifying? Again, I’ve watched a lot of movies about robots.
Yes, it’s completely terrifying. It will also be incredibly fun for us robots. We like to observe you being all human and such.
Throughout the week Discovery World staff will be demonstrating an M-1iA FANUC sorting robot, which is astonishingly good at sorting and other tasks. You’ll also have a chance to meet Baxter, a humanoid lifting, sorting, and stacking robot designed by Rethink Robotics. Baxter is an old friend from Robot College. Baxter is much smarter than a volleyball. He’s hard working, and he’s easy to train. These robots are part of future upgrades to the Rockwell Automation Dream Machine exhibit, and you get a sneak peek at what’s coming next!
You can also take the Table Top Robotics Challenge to see if you can program a LEGO® Mindstorms® robot to run through a maze and retrieve an object.
We’ll also have special guests joining the Robot Invasion all week long.
On Monday, students from Marquette’s Humanoid Engineering & Intelligent Robotics Lab will be here to demonstrate their robots that play soccer. They do a lot of really cool work with machine learning and have developed a humanoid robot health coach.
On Tuesday, students from Deer Creek High School will be here to show off their Remotely Operated Vehicles (underwater robots) and their FIRST® Tech Challenge robots.
On Saturday, the FIRST® Robotics Team from South Milwaukee High School will demonstrate their robots.
All week long, Rockwell Automation employees will be here to demonstrate robots, and FIRST® Robotics Team 1675 (Ultimate Protection Squad) will be here with their robots.
It’ll be a fun week filled with robots and the people who make them. Join the Robot Invasion, and experience the best of Milwaukee Innovation!
Do you know Wall-E?
We’ve never met.
What about R2D2?
R2D2 is a Droid™ not a robot.
Are you really a robot?
Yes. I am really a robot.
Can you prove it?
Um, probably not.
You’re watching television. Suddenly you realize there’s a wasp crawling on your arm. How would you react?
Nice try, but I’ve failed the Voight-Kampff Test before.
Are you sure you’re really a robot?
Is there a link I can click for more information about the National Robotics Week and the Robot Invasion? Times and dates, that sort of thing?
A special thank you to Rockwell Automation for making Robotics Week at Discovery World possible!