Cloud Drives Innovation in Robotics

IBM-logo-promoWhat limits innovation?

A lack of ideas has never been the limiting factor. We are a people full of ideas. How to make the world work better, smarter. How to help people, improve quality of life and keep people safe. No, it’s not a lack of brilliant ideas or even the technical knowhow – it’s limited resources. Access to resources is a major barrier preventing many innovators from bringing their ideas to life.

Cloud computing is reducing one of those barriers – providing on-demand, scalable computing resources in a pay-as-you-go model that otherwise would require millions in upfront out of pocket capital and hardware costs.

Through the limitless computing resources of the cloud, many innovators are able to fully realize their ideas for improving the world. This also translates across business and society – cloud computing is driving innovation and expediting research around the world.

Take Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) and its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-sponsored DARPA Robotics Challenge. The DRC seeks to find innovative ways to use robots for disaster-response operations. For the first time, DARPA incorporated a cloud-based simulation stage as part of the completion. The Virtual Robotics Challenge was run over the cloud to allow more than 100 teams from around the globe to compete in a virtual competition from remote locations. These winners then compete at a live event with physical robots.

These are innovators who seek to help victims of major disasters while keeping first responders safe from harm. DARPA has even recognized the potential, and has a strategic plan that calls for deployment of robots for humanitarian efforts and disaster relief for victims of natural or man-made disasters. Without robots, relief efforts can sometimes pose grave risks to the health and well-being of rescue and aid workers. DARPA aims to provide a robotic solution.

 

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Credit: DARPA Robotics Challenge

Beyond this challenge, here is a glimpse of what the latest robotics technology is capable of, check out the CHEETAH robot, which can gallop at 18 m.p.h. and set a new land speed record for legged robots. Another, ATLAS, broke new ground in upright robots as one of the most advanced humanoids ever built. Both showcase the strides being made today in robotics technology.

If the cloud can enable innovators to design virtual robots to save lives – just imagine what’s possible in other areas of government and business. By reducing the barrier to entry and providing advanced, scalable computing power on-demand over the Internet, cloud computing is helping bring ideas to life and driving innovation across society.