Magazine article The Futurist

Telerobotics: Humanizing Automation

Magazine article The Futurist

Telerobotics: Humanizing Automation

Article excerpt

Integrating people into robotic systems.

Robots are efficient, tireless workers, but they can't adapt as easily as humans can to unexpected problems. Now, there appears to be a way to solve this dilemma, by combining robot muscle and human judgment.

A major research effort is under way to tap the potential of "telerobotics" technology, in which a human operator works directly with a system of robots or machines. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has set up the Center for Telerobotics to investigate this new area of technology, which integrates human sensing, dexterity, and decision-making capabilities into automated work processes for complex, nonrepetitive tasks in unstructured environments.

Today's automated systems and robots are sometimes incapable of deviation from routine, but by dividing the control responsibility between human operators and the machines, the technology's capabilities would greatly expand the number and types of tasks that could be achieved.

According to researchers at the Center, development in telerobotics thus far has focused on space and underwater applications. …

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