Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Future: Open-Source Humanoids

Mayjune06robots2_2 Mega-monolithic corporations are often be seen as the bad guys, creating faceless hordes and irresponsibly-armed technologies, but the end of humanity might come from the little guys. Humanoid robot design has gone open source - so don't be surprised if your silicon killer lasers "HAxxor3D by StumpyJO!" into your corpse.

The Willow Project is a seriously cool effort to bring robotics to the masses: think of it as Lego Mindstorms all grown up. The project makes all their hardware and software designs open source, so anybody with the capability can take part, downloading existing designs and uploading their own. You don't have to be Dr Robotnik taking a break, either - the project includes tutorials and instruction, so all you need is the desire to make awesome robots.

And if you don't have that we don't know why you're reading here.

Open sourcing robotics clears the way for all kinds of incredible innovations. Some developments might not have the security or stability of commercial releases, but you don't have to wait for a million people to want something before it becomes profitable. The internet has already shown that sheer love and hard work can create the most amazing things, and now that same creative energy can be directed into things that can then get up and walk.

As robotics technology evolves the homebrew programs will accelerate to keep pace: don't be surprised to find "flesh{bot 0.1" available for bittorrent in the next ten years. With advances in synthetic skins, certain sectors of the web might be able to download entire behaviour sets instead of just movies of people doing those things. As long as they watch out for security. It's bad enough when your computer can steal your bank account info - but when a robot can physically go through your wallet, the best firewall in the world won't save you.

Original here


hieyeglasses said...

Wow, this is awesome! Can't wait for this to launch!

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