Robots to Make Our Lives Easier

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By: Rich DeMuro
May 15, 2013

From robots that can teach your kid to say no to junk food and another that promotes exercise engineering students are building bots that can make life easier.

Recently at USC’s Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems we caught up with engineers celebrated National Robotics Week by showcasing some of most innovative robots at work.

“This is Chili the Dragonbot and we’re using chili to help kids made healthy food choices,” said Katelyn Swift-Spong, a student attached to the project. “So the idea is that Chili is training for the big dragon race and the kids are actually picking out foods for chili to eat while it’s training.”

When Chili is offered junk food, it’s programmed to tell you why it might not be a good idea.

It’s not yet a part of everyday lives, but chances are they will be in the future.

Other robots were designed to assist in child motor and psychological development..

“[H]uman user interaction robots… are good for like teaching kids how to interact with different robots,” said a student attached to the project. “[T]hey’ll react to different human emotions and human touches, so they are good with kids and they are an easy way to teach robotics.”

In the future, engineers also see robots having a big impact on our aging population.

A robot called Bandit was designed to help the elderly keep up with their daily physical exercise said Juan Fasola, an engineering student.

Outside of homes, robots like the Eco Mapper will help marine biologists study the sea.

“[The] autonomous underwater vehicle… [is] program[ed] in such that we can give it a mission and it can do it totally on its own,” said Stephanie Kemna an engineering student.

While today’s robots mostly live in labs, scientists and engineers are working to integrate them into education and society.

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