2017 could be a year that takes leaps forward in the robot world. Whether its social robots, humanoid type of robots, or monolithic robots, the trend of having assistance and gaining information through a robotic form is appealing to many. Interactions that are happening between humans and their robot counterparts are contributing to the growth of artificial intelligence in the ever-elusive market for humanoids. The different models on the market range from Amazons “Alexa,” which takes a cylindrical form built into a speaker and to Hanson Robotics’ “Sophia” that looks like a mannequin from a JC Penny store.
The shape of these new robots is an interesting topic that many manufactures are taking to heart. Do people want a robot that has elbows, ears, and eyebrows? Or are potential robots better off without human characteristics? Branch Creative, an industrial design and branding company, is working to design the perfect template for a robot. Co-founder Nick Cronan states, “Just by moving things a few millimeters, it went from looking like a dumb robot to a curious robot to a mean robot. It became a discussion of, how do we make something that’s always looking optimistic and open to listen to you?” In the months to come, the robot will evolve to what is most popular in the market. Will people prefer a robot that looks like an animal, or a human? Should the robot move? Maybe people will be happy with a robot that is simply informative and easy to access. Or perhaps people want a robot that thinks, has emotions, and can help you unpack your groceries.
Shyam Sundar, director of Media Effects Research Lab at Penn State, says that for the advocates of a Sci-Fi like robot such as C-3P0 that there is potentially a lot of troubleshooting. Sundar says that when a robot has to many human like features, than people have an unrealistic idea of what the robot is programmed to perform. 2017 will feature a new wave of robots that will sure to be a new trend by the years end. If robots can progress how cell phones have in the last 10 years, we will be sure to see some major advances.