Ames (IA) - Iowa State professor Alexander Stoytchev believes personal robots will become part of our lives in the near future. He and his team are working with robotic controls to produce life-like movements in arm-wielding robots.
Stoytchev said, "We'll have personal robots very soon. We're waiting for the first killer app. Hopefully, we can contribute to that."
Stoytchev's robots are far from autonomous or fully mobile. However, after being a Star Wars fan of R2-D2 and C3PO, his life's mission was cast. He says, "My interest in robotics stems from the day I saw Star Wars for the first time. I must have been in second or third grade at that time, but the two robots in the movie (R2-D2 and C-3PO) left a lasting impression on me."
From the article:
"[Stoytchev's] research specialty is developmental robotics, a blend of robotics, artificial intelligence, developmental psychology, developmental neuroscience and philosophy.
"It's one of the newest branches of robotics," Stoytchev said. "People have learned that it's unrealistic to program robots from scratch to do every task, so we're looking at human models. Humans are not born knowing everything. It takes a really long time to develop skills."
Stoytchev and his students are trying to figure out how a robot can learn what children learn over the first two years of their lives. (And child development is something Stoytchev is learning firsthand; he and his wife have a 2-month-old son.)"