The cloud has been one of those tech buzzwords for a few years. Cloud storage, as we all know, allows you to access information on any device without a download. Cloud computing permits a simple internet connected device to perform complex equations. Now scientists are applying these concept to robots with growing success.
What is Cloud-Based Robotics?
Anytime you access a database online, you are pulling information you don't have on your current computer hard drive. More recently, clouds have been used to run complex programs on smaller devices. By streaming the calculations of a huge computing machine across the internet, it can be shown on a simple device, like a tablet or smartphone. This is the essence of cloud robotics-a small, efficient robot that can complete complex tasks without having to carry all the hardware to process it. Even more important, it allows robots to work as a group, streaming instructions from a single cloud.
Rise of the Cloud
Google scientist James Kuffner first used the phrase cloud robotics back in 2010. The idea has since been further built upon by scientists like M. Ani Hsieh, head of the Drexel University Robots program. Teaming up with Ibrahim Volkan Isler of University of Minnesota, the two are working to create a team of robots to monitor ocean currents. Hundreds of sensors and robots currently track carp through the ocean, but each has to have its own on-board computer. According to a scientist specializing in the use of automated products from Hudson Robotics, these robots can work together more efficiently while only using a fraction of the energy of other systems. They could also compile their data automatically, making the analysis easier.
With the advent of smart phones, advancements in data transfer speeds are outpacing computing. It is becoming easier to let a distant computer do all the processing and for the user to simply have a screen. This makes even more sense when you consider hardware and software updates. An app that runs on the cloud does not require you to download or upgrade your personal hardware. This is particularly important when considering self-driving cars or medical robots. Itâs not feasible to download and install traffic reports every morning. Medical robots would to have massive hard drives to hold all the medical information needed to help a doctor. As of today, scientists are still working on developing algorithms needed for the robots to communicate.
While the future seems right around the corner, there are many advancements needed before we fill our world with robots. Luckily, top researchers from around the globe are on the task.