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Robots Have Already Taken Over: Part 1

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 by | Filed Under: I've Always Wanted To Know...

Robots are everywhere!

Most people are not aware that robots are all around us and they already control many important aspects of our everyday lives.

Here’s a definition of a robot from Google:


This definition would include:

  • Traffic lights
  • Rail road crossings
  • Office printers
  • Microwave ovens
  • Motion detection cameras
  • Programmable thermostats

All these devices have one thing in common they are mechanical machines that someone programmed to complete a specific task.

Now people want to do more “stuff” and they want robots to do the heavy lifting.

Here’s how to get in on this growing trend:


#1 – Drones

I’ll never forget watching Robocop back in the day and thinking of how creepy it would be if we lived with robots.

Well, that day is basically here with the advent of Drones.

People are using these flying robots to accomplish all sorts of tasks such as surveying land, helping find lost hikers, and more.

Recently Amazon announced that it wanted to test using Drones to deliver purchases to its customers. 

Following their lead Wisconsin-based Lakemaid Beers announced that it would also test using flying drones to deliver beer to ice fishermen to the chagrin of the FAA.

This tells you that the demand for using this aerial technology is far beyond recreational and you too can get in on the fun.

There are several models of drones available for less than $500.

One of the highest rated models is the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Quadricopter.


It features:

  • Compatibility with your Iphone, iPod touch, or Android
  • Up to 12 minutes of flying on a single charge.
  • 720p HD camera that transmits images back to your phone
  • 165ft range


#2 – 3D Printing

Let’s face it people buy massive tons of tiny little things.

Toys, parts, and accessories are a booming industry.

So big that Ryan Punzalan for Brighthand reports that the smart phone accessory industry alone is expected to grow upwards of $30 Billion per year.

With this much money on the table you can expect innovative companies to ditch the old manufacturing model of “importing everything from China” and switch to a new strategy of local production and consumption.

Because these devices literally create value they are somewhat expensive.

The top rated models range in price from $1,300 to over $60k for a serious industrial grade device.

Image Credit Flickr - Creative Tools

Read:  Bring 3D Printing Home by Cynthia

 In part 2 of this article, I’ll look at more ways to get in on the robot revolution.


 [Image Credit Flickr – Creative Tools]


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6 Responses to “Robots Have Already Taken Over: Part 1”

  1. MarkJ says:

    All these devices have one thing in common they are mechanical machines that someone programmed to complete a specific task.

    I have to disagree, in fact IMO none of the devices in your list are robots because you forgot two important words in the Google definition, complex and series. None of these devices can be programed to complete on their own a “complex series of tasks”.

    • Well we’ll agree to disagree 3d printers are controlled by electronic mechanical movements that get their instruction from computer programs. Drones do the same.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • MarkJ says:

        Darnell, What do 3D printers have to do with traffic lights, “office” printers, and microwave ovens. Siting a device that could be included in a list of robots does not validate a list of non-robot devices.

        • The devices mentioned are programmable by computers and they complete a series of complex tasks.

          Modern Traffic light signals and railroad are controlled by devices called process logic controllers or PLCs the algorithms involved are actually pretty complex.

          The point is these devices are using varying degrees of robotic technology.

  2. Taranach says:

    The objects in your initial list are not “robots” by any definition of the word. They perform one function only and require major rework to perform a different task. A robot should be autonomous and somewhat self guiding, it should also be able to be easily changed or reprogrammed to perform a different task. Drones are not a “robot” because they are directly or indirectly guided by a human operator… The closest thing to a robot that you have listed in ‘Part 1′ is the 3d printer in that it can create many different things merely by changing the program or the extrusion material.

    • Just like cars drones can be programmed to complete tasks they don’t have to always be controlled by a live operator by remote. Search “autonomous drones” and “Google driverless car”.

      Thanks for commenting.

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