Robots Rising…

Small pieces, loosely joined....We are sitting at the edge of the age of robots. Over the last year, a couple of interesting things happened that will greatly speed up the evolution of robots.

Last year, hackers rather quickly figured out that they could reuse a Microsoft Xbox Kinect 3D sensor as a low-cost form of machine vision – that’s right, technology to help machines “see.” Seeing is critical to interacting with the world around us, and now that the price barrier for machine vision has been broken, hackers are coming out of the wood work building Kinect-enabled robots.

Then, this week, the folks at Google unveiled something called Android Open Accessory. Combine that with the Arduino open-source electronics prototyping platform, and you make robot hackers start to salivate. Robotic nervous system anyone?

So, why do I think these two developments in particular are important? Economics. Change the economics of key components of intelligence like vision and nervous system, and evolution is bound to get a nice creative boost.

Small, interchangeable pieces of robots that people can combine in endless ways. Small pieces, loosely joined. That was part of what made Web 2.0 rocket to life – and it’s likely to do the same in the field of robotics. Hold on to your antennas. We’re about to take a wild ride.

About Gideon Rosenblatt

Gideon Rosenblatt writes about the impact of technology on people, organizations and society at Alchemy of Change. He is a technologist with a background in business and social change. For nine years, Gideon ran Groundwire, a mission-driven technology consulting group, dedicated to building a more sustainable world. Prior to that, he spent ten years at Microsoft in various marketing, product development and management positions, where he developed CarPoint, one of the world's first large-scale e-commerce websites. Gideon was raised in Utah, lived and worked in Japan and China for several years, and now lives in Seattle with his wife and two boys. More details on Gideon here.
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  1. Robots just may save the world. See my vid:

  2. I agree with you. Contact me at I am part of the Fxea and our commpany is interested in anyones imput about robotics. Find us on you tube on the neko progect trailer

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