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SciTech Course

A Taste of Science and Technology: Robotics

   Points to ponder:  for guided reading/viewing or discussion
  1.  Before you begin to view or read any of the material:
    •  How do you visualize a robot?
    •  What characteristics do you see it as having?
  2.  Are robots in industrial automation a good or a bad thing?  For whom or what (workers, corporations, consumers, the economy)?
  3.  In what ways are robots superior to people?  In what ways are they inferior?
  4.  Do you think that intelligent robots are feasible?  What do you mean by “intelligent”?
  5.  After viewing and reading the material, did your answer to the first question change?  How?
Class presentation, four slides to a page (12 pages):  click here or on "Presentation - Robotics.pdf" below.

"How 6-Axis Industrial Robots Work"   (2:13)
"Watch A Scientist Talk To Her Look-Alike Robot" 
(1:20) Meet Nadine
"Human or Machine? The Incredibly Life-Like Android Robots From Japan"  (3:07) In Japanese, with English subtitles

"Atlas, The Next Generation"  (2:41) Boston Dynamics humanoid robot
"Introducing Spot"  (2:15) Boston Dynamics four-legged robot
"Fido vs Spot — Animal vs Robot"  (1:54)  The robot and the terrier

"Kismet (MIT A.I. Lab)" 
(3:17) Kismet, an expressive robot head with social intelligence
"Autonomously folding a pile of 5 previously-unseen towels"  (2:01) PR2 robot folding towels
"Rise of the Robots" 
(44:45) In case you missed it, the NOVA program, but you need to be a WGBH Passport member

"A Compilation of Robots Falling Down at the DARPA Robotics Challenge"  (1:13)
"Korea Humanoid Robot - Hubo - DRC Final Winner - [Time lapse - HD]"  (4:31) Winner of the DARPA Challenge

"How Robots Work"  on the "How Stuff Works" site (8 pages)
Wikipedia article: robots from history to the future

   The Economy
"Skilled Work, Without the Worker"  New York Times - Aug. 18, 2012
"Robot Makers Spread Global Gospel of Automation"  New York Times - Jan. 23, 2013
"Will this robot take your job?"  Boston Globe Magazine - Sept. 24, 2015

"As Aging Population Grows, So Do Robotic Health Aides"  New York Times - Dec. 4, 2015
"Autonomous Car"  Wikipedia article
"How Google's Self-Driving Car Works"  IEEE Spectrum article
"DARPA Robotics Challenge: Amazing Moments, Lessons Learned, and What's Next"  IEEE Spectrum article: Robotics competition with eight tasks that an emergency worker might face, much of which was shown in the NOVA program.

Updated March 30, 2016

Peter Schmidt,
Mar 28, 2016, 1:35 PM