It’s one thing to be able to manually remote control drones or robots, but it’s another thing to have them control themselves. Putting aside our fears that one day there will be a robot uprising, in the meantime the possibilities of autonomous robots that can figure their way out of problems does hold a lot of promises.
A good example that you can actually get your hands on would be bots_alive. Revealed at CES 2017 earlier this month, bots_alive is a Kickstarter project for a kit that can turn regular remote-controlled robots into smarter ones. So how does this work? Basically through the use of AI that the company is pioneering, these robots can find their way around various beacons.
For example you could craft a maze and get the robot to seek out a blue beacon, and placing red beacons in its path means that its AI will then try to figure out a way around it. According to its creators, the robots are unpredictable as they will be able to generate a variety of possible paths to take before deciding, going to show that it is “thinking” about its next move.
It also almost seems life-like as the robots will actually stop/pause when an obstacle is in their way, as if to act confused and to seem like they are considering what to do next. While we suppose these robots would be fun for adults, they are also great learning tools for children to teach them about “human-centered design, technology, engineering, and math that drives the robots.”
If you’d like to pledge your support you can head on over to its Kickstarter page where a pledge of $60 will nab you the complete bot_alive kit. This includes a Life-giving decals for robot, an IR blaster, 5 vision blocks (1 target, 4 obstacle), the bots_alive app where is the “brains” for the Spider, and 1 Hexbug Spider which is the robot itself.