It was after the robotic hummingbird flew around the auditorium -- and after a speaker talked about the hypersonic plane that could fly from New York to the West Coast in 11 minutes -- that things got really edgy.
The provocative idea worth spreading in the talk I gave at the TEDWomen conference is that robots are a really intriguing social technology. This idea has emerged from pursuing my childhood dream of creating personal robots that are a meaningful, empowering and enriching part of our everyday lives.
In 1998, Kevin Warwick became what some people call "the world's first cyborg." To be exact, Warwick, a professor of cybernetics at Reading University, had a radio frequency ID chip implanted in his arm. Years before RFID chips became common, this small implant allowed him to turn on lights by snapping his fingers, or open doors without touching them.
Robotic surgery is one of the hottest sectors in the global health care industry right now, and Intuitive Surgical (No. 21) has a corner on it. Intuitive sells million-dollar robotic systems that allow surgeons to remove tumors and suture skin by watching a high-definition video feed from a camera inside the patient while using a joystick and pedals to guide tiny scalpels and needles attached to flexible robotic arms.
On an April day in Boulder, Colo., Michael Laine sat onstage in front of a large audience, struggling to hold back tears. That afternoon he was supposed to be presenting to the attendees of the Conference on World Affairs, but at the moment, Laine was finding it hard to concentrate. "Two hours ago I lost a $3 million building," he declared to the room. "And now I don't have a place to live."
Scientists have trained a group of monkeys to feed themselves marshmallows using a robot arm controlled by sensors implanted in their brains, a feat that could one day help paralyzed people operate prosthetic limbs on their own, according to a study out Thursday.
If your idea of a robot is a metal-plated humanoid jerkily walking into walls then think again. Scientist are creating a new generation of "soft" machines that can change their shape and size, move in ever more agile ways and even split themselves into smaller robots.
In a packed lecture hall at Cornell University, Dr. Ash Tewari recently showed a 3D video of a robotic claw surgically removing a prostate, as medical professionals watched stoically and reporters squirmed in their seats.
From rebellious mechanoids taking over our lives to subservient droids that do our bidding, concepts of robots are often stuck in versions of fictional dystopia. But as fanciful as it seems, the issue of robot rights to protect both them and us is currently being debated by scientists and governments. But can robots ever know good from bad and what should we be more concerned about, robots abusing us, or bringing out our worst traits?
A car that can drive itself is the fantasy of any designated driver, but the dream of owning a vehicle that does all the driving while you sit back and relax is one step closer to reality, as in-car artificial intelligence being developed by a team at Stanford University is ready to be used on city streets in the ultimate test of robot cars.
The panel for the first CNN Future Summit program is set. Originating from Singapore, the one hour program will focus on the long-term impact of research into the fields of robotics, cybernetics, genetics and stem cells.
"Ultimately technology could allow even a monkey to do an operation -- the learning curve is getting shorter, the possibility of mishaps is getting smaller," says Dr. Ara Darzi of St. Mary's Hospital in London. "These [robotic] systems won't allow you to do the wrong thing."
Humans have always been fascinated by the idea of robots. Science-fiction, so often the medium through which society explores the potential impact of new technology, has always been obsessed with robots, and some of the most enduring sci-fi characters have been robots, from R2D2 and C3PO, to The Terminator and Data.
John Fox was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago. After researching different treatments on the Internet, he elected to have laproscopic radical prostatectomy surgery -- a procedure less intrusive than traditional treatments. Here is his story:
They look like big, high-tech toys. But robotic airplanes and helicopters with cameras, microphones and sensors can provide crucial information for emergency responders in the aftermath of disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
Here is what some of you predict will happen in the next 10 or 20 years. Got a vision? E-mail it to us at Vision. Please keep your e-mail to 100-150 words, include your first and last name and where you are from, to increase the likelihood of it being published.
The eye-popping visuals of "Robots" swirl, zing and ping right off the screen. Director Chris Wedge ("Ice Age") and his talented team at Blue Sky Studios have created an entire world populated by robots of all shapes and sizes. They've also gathered an amazing group of talented actors to give voice to their unique creations.
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe told U.S. lawmakers worried about the Hubble Space Telescope's future that robotic servicing of the orbiting observatory appears to be more feasible than agency officials initially believed.