Japan used to lead in robotics, that is still probably the case (it might have to do with their culture, I am sure you understand this better than me Junko)...I remember plenary talk at CICC conference years back in which was goal was to have robots playing soccer at human level by 2040...at the time I thought that was increadibly long time to acomplish that and felt disaapointed...I wonder whether soccer playing robots are making any progress so at least I (with very low level of skills) can play with them ;-)...Kris
Kris, these are all really good questions. The fascinating thing about robotics is that it needs a platform integrating all the advances of key building blocks you mentioned here. I remember, many moons ago, interviewing Dr. Doi at Sony, brain behind Sony's biodog Aibo. At that time, Doi had a grand plan (and vision) to develop an Open Computing architecture for robots. But he also acknowledged then that developing robots with human precision is "very tough." Therefore, Sony's first robots were called "entertainment robots" -- because "it is more forgiving," said Doi during the interview.
Man, I don't care what their agenda is. I'm just happy someone with the deep pockets that google has is pushing for interesting robotics. I'd love to see more well funded companies making awesome things. We need more atlases and bigdogs!
What are the major obstacles for robotics to become everyday item for everyone? Hardware? With Moore's law still marching on you would think electronics is small enough and sufficiently low power...sensors?...software and algorithms? apparently creating a balance is very difficult for the machine, never understood why...the bog one might be battery, there has been relatively litle progress in this field, maybe robots should be wirelessly charged (lyeing on wireless mat when doing anything)...thoughts anyone? Kris