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How Robots Will Help Us

Posted at 8:13 AM, Apr 06, 2023

Lately a lot of talk among tech lovers has been about chatbots. And while that's making headlines, there's a lot more "robo stuff" in the pipeline - including a humanoid robot! Dr. Robert Griffin, a Research Scientist with the Florida Institute For Human and Machine Cognition, told us how hopefully "Nadia" will be able to improve all of our lives some day.

Meet the robot!

Nadia is the humanoid robot that IHMC has been working on for the last four years. She's named after a the legendary Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, who in 1976 became the first gymnast to ever score a perfect ten -- at the age of 14! The team's goal was to make a robot that was like a human gymnast in its capability set and since at the time the lead mechanical designer was from Romania, the name followed. While Dr. Griffin says they're not there yet, they're getting close.

So what's the purpose of creating a Nadia? How will humanoids like her help us?

One major function they'll fill -- performing life-threatening jobs like bomb disposal and disaster response so humans can stay safe and guide them from afar. Now, we use humans to do these dangerous tasks whether it's fight fires or nuclear cleanup even because we don't have another option.

So when will Nadia get to work?

Dr. Griffin says a lot depends on partnerships and funding, but they're hoping to get her out of the building in the next year. She could actually be used in a 3-5 year timeline for some basic types of tasks involving logistics or bomb disposal. The Mayo Clinic is testing a robot which gives massages, though it still needs to be guided by a human. As it is, other robots currently perform repetitive tasks that take a toll on the human body like assembling cars, and that is the goal of all robot tech -- for a future where individuals can have fulfilling lives where they can focus on the things they enjoy doing. as opposed to the things that they have to do.