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Star Wars robots 'may' become real

By: Miles Godfrey
06 May, 2013

Star Wars robots like R2-D2 and C-3PO may one day be real, according to world-leading boffins at Australia's peak science body.

CSIRO's Dr Jonathan Roberts says the idea of having robots like slightly camp droid C-3PO and his cheeky mate R2-D2 is not so far-fetched.
The technology to make such intelligent, multi-tasking robots does not exist yet.
But that's the way robotics research is moving and it may only be a matter of time before we've all got mechanical manservants.
"In our current world our robots are made far more specifically to do specific tasks — they're usually designed to do just one thing," Dr Roberts, Brisbane-based director of CSIRO's Autonomous Systems Lab, told reporters.
"But there is definitely a move to go in the direction of the Star Wars droids.
"To try and make our robots actually help people like in Star Wars, to work alongside people and particularly be a bit more versatile in what they do."
It raises the question of whether robots will one day take over the world.
English-born Dr Roberts — described by CSIRO as the "Yoda of robotics" — says not yet.
"I'm not too worried, I sleep soundly," he added.
"I can't speak for hundreds of years' time but in the near-term I don't think we've got anything to worry about."
Nonetheless, Dr Roberts and his team of 45 scientists and engineers are developing a series of fascinating, highly-capable robots that are assisting humans.
They include the intelligent Hexapod — an insect-like machine, with multiple legs — which is designed to monitor and map uneven surfaces.
There's Starbug, a mini autonomous machine that collects data underwater.
The Stealth Robot is designed to track and observe animals in the wild.
And there's the Telepresence Robot which is remotely controlled and can be moved around galleries or museums to give viewers at home a virtual tour.
Dr Roberts said Australia was a world leader in developing robotic technology and saw a future where robots became far more common in business.
The CSIRO will release a government report next week recommending how robots could be utilised in the nation's flagging manufacturing sector.
Source: AAP

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