Robotics seen by BTS students
BTS students in the Open Day of Pal Robotics
This November the 25th, the students of the Master in Digital Solutions Development from Barcelona Technology School attended the Open Day of Pal Robotics, a European company in humanoid robots developing. As the robotics development is closely connected to the digital transformation occurring nowadays, students were able to talk to some experienced developers and to share their ideas about how robotic are affecting our society.
In representation of the 2016 Master in Digital Solutions class, BTS students Hilda and Vinicius did an interview to Judith Viladomat, responsible of communication of the company in order to answer how the evolution of robotics is being carried out and its impact in real life.
When asked about the criteria of building a robot, Judith said that it is based on building humanoid robots. Some aspects are taken into consideration, such as exploring projects that have rentable futures and more importantly, the PAL Robotics team is focused on developing robots that can have an impact in society; phenomenon such as aging or the fact that repetitive tasks in an industrial environment can increase the arthrosis risk, for instance, are examples of how robots can improve the efficiency of workforce.
Vinicius outlined that one of the people´s greatest concerns is when this newest technology would become affordable for most public instead of just for research institutes due to the high cost of development. Judith estimated that it might be ten years or so, depending on the investment. According to her, it requires a massive amount of investment in order to prepare these technologies for the real world, including sufficient numbers of tests before launching to see that they can be used for real life.
Another interesting question that came up was about the size of the robots, since the trend of the digital industry is that all the devices are becoming smaller while these robots are big and in some cases, real human size. Judith explained that it is because that helps robots to adapt better to the real-life environment and thus functioning in a more effective way.
During the event, the students also had the chance to interact with some advanced models of robots designed for different sectors. For instance, Tiago, which combines perception, navigation and manipulation, is an outstanding example of mobile robots designed specifically for healthcare industry. Furthermore, students saw how robotics could help doctors as well as patients in the real life since they could simulate human actions automatically or manually. By manual control, the robotics would be able to avoid unwanted accidents and harms, increasing the efficiency of their function.
Such idea of a smart functioning system is as well closely related to the concept of the Industry 4.0, which was also highlighted during the presentation, since artificial intelligence forms an important part of this accelerating process that combines machine learning, big data and cloud computing. One example would be StockBot, a robot of the company that helps in optimizing inventory management making possible data-driven decisions and opening big data opportunities; the other would be Reem-C, a robust research platform to easily implement and test algorithms, being quickly customized to meet specific requirements.
These are just examples of how the emerging fourth wave of digital technology, artificial intelligence and robotics can manage data from the Internet in order to assist people in addressing real-world issues such as enhancing competitiveness and creating closer relationships with customers. In this way, robots and humanoids, as key part of the digital transformation, are expected to have better performance and to remarkably improve people’s quality of life in the nearly future.