Revolutionizing the world of robotics: towards a coexistence between humans and robots

In the middle of 2022, we are immersed in the 4th Industrial Revolution. Technological innovation is part of our day to day life, especially since the last ten years. We have witnessed the development of new generations of mobile data (4G, 5G and soon 6G), the arrival of the blockchain, big data or the artificial intelligence (AI), along with the roboticamong other.

The integration of new and different technologies in our lives has made us live in a society capable of adapt to the changes that digitization has brought with it. We are increasingly connected, not only among ourselves, but also with the environment that surrounds us. And this is thanks, in large part, to the development of AI, whose solutions have been with us for decades. Without going any further, the voice assistants of our homes, such as Aura, or those of our mobiles.

We have become accustomed to living at the forefront of technology. So much so that sometimes we don’t know what kind of technology we are using. One of the areas that has undergone the greatest transformation, especially with the aim of improve people’s liveshas been the field of robotics.

Artificial intelligence is a combination of algorithms that pursue the goal of creating machines that mimic human intelligence.

Robotics, a field that arouses growing interest

The different robotics professionals work to create machines that are capable of “thinking”, acting and processing. We have gone from robots, such as Elektro and Sparko, which were developed at the beginning of the 20th century and which a giant advance for the field of robotics. These robots walked, could recognize the colors green and red, and could even detect items.

Both creations marked the beginning of a great era in the development of robots, until the arrival of artificial intelligence. This technology makes it possible to provide these machines with a greater degree of autonomy. An independence they lacked decades ago. In this scenario, the machine learning (automatic learning in Spanish), a branch of Artificial Intelligence, which provides robots with the ability to identify patterns in huge amounts of data in order to make predictions.

The world of robotics has aroused the interest of various fields, with the film industry being one of the most interested. In these years, there have been various series and films that have revolved around a future of humans and robots. From ‘Metropolis’ (1927), where a robot with a human physiognomy was seen for the first time on movie screens, to ‘I, Robot’ (2004), ‘Wall e’ (2008), among many others.

The use of robotics to facilitate routine tasks: AGVs

At the moment, we are far from living with robots in our daily lives, as the aforementioned films show. Because if we talk about robotic devices that move and manipulate objectsThey already live among us.

An example of this are the AGVs, automated guided vehicles, which move autonomously and transport those objects that are placed on top of them without the need for the presence of an operator to handle them. Their job is to perform those tasks that are hardest for people in order to maintain their safety. These types of machines are usually used in industrial plants, automotive sectors, food, etc. It is no longer the professional himself who enters a freezing chamber to carry out his work, but rather it is the AGVs who carry it out.

This is not to say that robots perform intrusive work on human work. On the contrary, these robotic machines arrive to make our daily work easier, taking on the most dangerous and arduous tasks so that we can add greater value to the work chain. The objective pursued is, «moving towards a world shared by humans and robots of all kinds and for every use«, he maintainsStephane Raccah, Head of Education at Campus 42 Madrid, in conversation with Think Big.

This is something that is already happening with the robots mentioned above or with those used in the field of medicine, where thanks to robotic arms, health professionals can perform some surgeries with greater precision. The key in using these machines is do not leave total control in their networks. In other words, there always has to be human control because, as Stephane explains, “they can lose control.”

Xiaomi and Telefónica come together in the search for opportunities in the field of robotics

One of the greatest revolutions in the field of robotics comes from the hand of Xiaomi with the development of the CyberDog. The reason? It is the first generation of a robot, aimed at mass consumption, with the aim of carrying out tests in laboratories and being able to continue advancing towards the commercialization of the next generations of the CyberDog in our markets.

Under this objective, Xiaomi gets in touch with the Global Devices Unit team of Telefónica, specifically with Daniel Hernández, director of the aforementioned area, with the challenge of continuing to investigate this type of technology and being able to develop advances in this area. «We certainly believe that they are prepared for this challenge.«, confesses Dr. Albert Shan, head of Product and Technology at Xiaomi to Think Big.

Telefónica is one of Xiaomi’s international partners since he began his first steps in 2018. When Daniel received this opportunity, he spoke with the team of David del Val, director of Core Innovation, who in turn spoke with Stephane, from Escuela 42. All this, in order to work together in the design of the future of technology and be able to contribute their vision from each of the areas.

“Xiaomi is one of our strategic partners in Telefónica. We are collaborating on multiple disruptive and innovative projects, such as the development of use cases for their CyberDogs robots, which will allow us to start marketing them in the near future for our customers”, explains Daniel. In addition, the application of 5G, programmable networks and edge computing create the perfect scenario to promote this great revolution.

In these years, we will not only witness use cases in the industrial sector, such as in the field of security and surveillance in factories or shopping malls. Rather, the chances of applications for the home are the ones with the greatest potential. Imagine that you have your own autonomous Cyberdog and that it is connected to all the devices in the home. As Daniel mentions, this type of robot would have a more humane and simpler interface, compared to current products. Coming to offer critical use cases such as security or send reminders and alerts to caregivers in the event of an accident, to promote activities of emotional and physical well being.

CyberDog: an open source robot

For a few years, the use of software based on open collaboration has been promoted. These open source platforms are being key in the development of digital transformation and Xiaomi is aware of this. Therefore, the Cyberdog was born under the premise of create an open source robot. This allows more people to join in the development and creation of future CyberDog applications. Because as a famous saying goes: “if you want to go fast, walk alone, if you want to go far, go together”.

Dr. Albert Shan, says that they have seen several use cases developed by consumers. For example, one of the people incorporated a LIDAR, technology to measure the distance between a sensor and an object, under the idea of ​​being able to send the CyberDog to caves and tunnels to carry out 3D modeling. While other consumers use it to accompany their children to school.

As we can see the possibilities are endless and the best thing is that this has only just begun. With the collaboration of Telefónica and as David del Val says, “they plan to go further”. The challenge is to put aside what we know to introduce new forms of robotics in different areas that can add value to people.

AI challenges in the future of robotics

In line with all of the above, there is still an immense future of challenges and questions to answer. Where one of the biggest challenges is the ethics of these machines. Above all, considering that we live in a society where prejudices coexist with each one of us and, therefore, these biases end up being part of the technology itself.

The COMPAS case is an example of this. This system is responsible for determining who should and should not be granted parole for detainees in the United States. Although, the algorithm does not use race as an argument on which to make decisions. The accuracy of the system is affected by the historical differences between whites and blacks and their relationship with crime. This creates a totally unfair situation, since these technologies must be impartial.

Around this situation and taking into account the challenges of the future. From the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) they launched their Principles on AI. These principles form the basis of the aspects that must be taken into account when living with robots.

Other points to consider, which Xiaomi’s Product and Technology Manager comments, are high precision sensors to be comparable to human functions, real time planning of complex movements, and the ability to recognize and learn from the environment. , among others. This added to the ethical questions, are the reasons why current robots have failed to perform some tasks. Like folding clothes, reading books, talking or dancing.

Towards a coexistence between humans and robots

Without a doubt, the next few years will be key in the development of robotics. Machines like the CyberDog are a clear example of how far we can go when we have a common goal. It is not about fearing this type of technology, because it is about machines that come into our day to day life to make our lives easier. Years ago, with the advent of home robots, there were people who were reluctant to use them. Over the years, we have seen that these kinds of robots help us dedicate our time to other taskswhich are not the ones you make.

Changes always give some fear, but there is something that we must be clear about and that is that this type of technology is not going to come into our lives suddenly. If not, it is a process that will be integrated into our routine little by little. «In the future, robots will play a key role in all aspects of our lives, becoming the most reliable partner of human beings“, comments Dr. Albert.

Until then, we will continue to witness the advances around this discipline. Advances that will reveal what kind of future we are heading for in terms of robotics. Being aware that the possibilities they offer us are endless.

Header image designed by Nikotxan.