New Robotics: Criticial Issues and the Forseeable Future

Rodney Brooks
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
200 Technology Square,Cambridge, MA 02139 , USA

This is the abstract of a talk prepared for the International interdisciplinary seminar on new robotics, evolution and embodied cognition (IISREEC).12th to 15th November 2002, Lisbon, Portugal

Abstract: The New Robotics has recently begun to find real applications in real-world domains ranging from military robots in Afghanistan to home cleaning robots in middle America. We all like to live in our academic ivory towers, but in reality the research funding that is available to us is ultimately evaluated in terms of the applications that our research enables.

In this talk I will take a critical look at what aspects of new robotics have lead to applications, and what classes of applications have been made possible. I will argue that both the sociology of the field, and the readily available research platforms have distorted our research to particular subdomains more that we would probably like to admit.

I will outline new classes of possible future applications, and argue that in order to get to these applications we will have to solve a new class of problems that are interesting in their own right. These problems will shed new light on both evolution and embodied cognition. Finally I will argue for new classes of research platforms that will enable these new areas of research.

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Last Modified: October 31, 2002