Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ethics of Killer Robots

Philip Argy, president of the Australian Computer Society, wrote a thought provoking article "Dilemma in Killer Bots" (The Australian, January 16, 2007):
'WHEN science fiction writer Isaac Asimov developed his Three Laws of Robotics back in 1940, the first law was: "A robot may not harm a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." ... reports out of Korea of newly developed guard robots capable of firing autonomously on human targets are raising concerns about their potential uses. ...'.
Roger Clarke wrote an article "Asimov's Laws of Robotics - Implications for Information Technology" for IEEE Computer Magazine in 1993.

LEGO Mindstorms NXT robot kitThere are already some domestic robots available which could raise safety concerns, even if not designed to deliberately harm people. Professor Rodney Brooks, Director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, gave a talk in Canberra last year about the potential for low cost robots.

iRobot Roomba Vacuuming RobotThe Roomba robot vacuum cleaner he talked about and the Lego robot kit are examples of low cost robots and kits available.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hacking Robot Vacuum Cleaners and Lego Robots

iRobot Roomba robot vacuum cleanerBack in August I attended a lecture by Professor Rodney Brooks, Director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, on Robotics. He used the example of the iRobot Roomba robot vacuum cleaner. There has been research about the vacuum cleaners (they can run the Linux operating system).

Amazon sell remanufactured models of the Roomba and books on reprogramming them.

Hacking Roomba: ExtremeTech, Tod E. Kurt, 2006:
Hacking Roomba: ExtremeTechA gizmo as cool as Roomba just begs to be hacked. Now, with this book and the official ROI specification furnished by iRobot®, you can become the robotic engineer you've always dreamed of being. Build a Bluetooth interface for your Roomba. Turn it into an artist. Install Linux on it and give it a new brain. Some hacks are functional, others are purely fun. ...
The new LEGO Mindstorms NXT robot kit with a 32 bit processor is also available. These are popular at universities as well as for hobbyists.

LEGO Mindstorms NXT robot kit:
LEGO Mindstorms NXT
Set includes: NXT programmable LEGO brick, ultrasonic sensor, sound sensor, light sensor, touch sensor, 3 interactive servo motors, USB cable, 7 6-wire cables, building instructions, user guide, Quickstart guide, easy to use software and test panel. 6 AA batteries not included.
LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Hacker's Guide, Dave Prochnow, 2006:LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Hacker's Guide

• Your First Robot • Stupid RCX Tricks • Save Your RIS • As Smart as a Brick • MOVE IT! With Servo Motors • Hmm, I Sense Something • Yes, But I Don't Know How to Program • Testing, Testing; Oh, Trouble Shoot • Katherine's Best Hacking Projects • Katherine's Design Fun House • NXT Programming Language Guide • NXT Elements • NXT Resources

See also: Robot store, with kits, books and videos.

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