Heartland Robotics Chairman and CTO Rodney Brooks asks: What will it take for robots to be added to the toolchest of the makers of American manufacturing, so that they can increase productivity, provide better jobs for American workers, and compete even more strongly in our globalized world?
Following on President Obama's call to "begin again the work of remaking America," Maker Faire 2009 was organized around the theme of Re-Make America. Held in the San Francisco Bay Area, Maker Faire celebrates what President Obama called "the risk takers, the doers, and the makers of things."
Dr. Rodney Brooks is a robotics entrepreneur and Founder, Chairman and CTO of Heartland Robotics, Inc. He is also a Founder, Board Member and former CTO (1991 - 2008) of iRobot Corp (Nasdaq: IRBT) and the Panasonic Professor of Robotics (on leave) at MIT.
Dr. Brooks is the former Director (1997 - 2007) of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and then the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He received degrees in pure mathematics from the Flinders University of South Australia and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1981.
He held research positions at Carnegie Mellon University and MIT, and a faculty position at Stanford before joining the faculty of MIT in 1984. He has published many papers and books in computer vision, artificial intelligence, robotics, and artificial life.
Design, construction, and use of machines (robots) to perform tasks done traditionally by human beings. Robots are widely used in such industries as automobile manufacture to perform simple repetitive tasks, and in industries where work must be performed in environments hazardous to humans. Many aspects of robotics involve artificial intelligence; robots may be equipped with the equivalent of human senses such as vision, touch, and the ability to sense temperature. Some are even capable of simple decision making, and current robotics research is geared toward devising robots with a degree of self-sufficiency that will permit mobility and decision-making in an unstructured environment. Today's industrial robots do not resemble human beings; a robot in human form is called an android.