Monthly Archives: March 2015

Robotics Also Needs Historians

What would enable to faster progress in robotics research?

Part 2:  Historians

One of the other things that would help us progress faster is a better understanding of what ideas have already been tried.

Trite, I know, and readily apparent, and something that applies across most (all?) scientific domains.  We’re not an established field like Biology or Chemistry, and we’re effectively still at the very beginning of defining the laws and principles that will be our foundations.  If we don’t know what approaches have been tried and failed, and have some sense of why, we won’t be able to define those laws and principles.

Robotics Needs Librarians

What would enable faster progress in robotics research?

Part 1:  Librarians.

There are several answers to this question, but one of the most important things robotics needs is the ability to find existing solutions, and one key element of that is providing cataloging tools.

Every robot is built up of bits and pieces of other peoples’ algorithms.

The researchers focused on a given problem know what the state of the art in that area is.  But each robot is an assemblage of components – no matter which piece a given researcher is focused on, the rest of the robot must be present in order for that piece to be tested.  Unfortunately, no one researcher has time to be an expert in every component of a robot.