Employees at China's Three Mountains University have developed an industrial robot that can imagine human thoughts with almost 100% accuracy. Such "cobots" will dominate factories shortly, replacing inexperienced workers.
Robots can cut production costs in half
Developers from the Institute of Innovative Intelligent Manufacturing Technology tested a robot in a Chinese factory. With the help of a team of 8 volunteers, including assembly line workers, the robot underwent hundreds of hours of training. The new development was called "cobot," which means "collaborative robot. Such a robot is expected to do assembly line work alongside humans.
"The cobot simulates humans through several mechanisms: first, it instantly monitors the worker's brain waves, and second, it registers the electrical signals of human muscles.
Robots with the ability to accurately recognize human intentions and embody them can significantly reduce the cost of assembly work. The robots do not need to say anything, and they calculate the human's thoughts, take the appropriate tool and carry out the necessary actions.
The thinking and even vision of machines are similar to that of humans.
For decades, humans and robots have been working together in industries. But more often than not, they are separated from each other by high walls to prevent injuries.
Some advanced manufacturing plants (such as German car factories) have recently introduced a shared work environment without barriers. Robots are close to humans but only start working when the operator presses a button. At the same time, the machines are equipped with protective sensors that stop their work as soon as they physically come into contact with humans.
Scientists in many countries have been working for decades to create a new generation of robots. In addition, they are engaged in improving sensors that record brain waves: encephalography is sewn into hats and uniforms. True, the detector's reliability decreases because the worker sweats or makes uncontrolled movements.
But scientists from China have succeeded: now the robot can perceive various parameters simultaneously. We are talking about brain waves and muscle movements (including facial gestures) and microscopic signs of the eyeball. To this end, a camera with artificial intelligence is attached to the overalls, which instantly converts any movement into an impulse - an order for the robot.
Robots are not subject to depression and fatigue
China has officially announced a "smart manufacturing" strategy: by 2025, China should become the world's center of innovation in robotics.
By 2025, robots will be used in 70% of China's large industrial enterprises. And the Celestial Empire is well on its way to achieving this goal. Since 2016, the number of manufacturing robots in the PRC has grown by 15% per year, with 246 robots used per 10,000 workers today, twice the global average.
Unfortunately, most of China's robots are made using technology developed in the West. The Chinese government has another goal: not only to fully localize production but also to export robots to foreign countries.
Of course, robots could eventually replace live labor in the most dangerous and complex industries. Unlike humans, robots do not experience fatigue depression and do not miss work. Today, robots serve as caregivers, janitors, and electricians. For many Chinese factories, the future is already here. And not just in factories - robots are increasingly found in power plants, train stations, and even agricultural enterprises.
China is one of the world leaders in using so-called service robots. For example, robots are engaged in agricultural work: weeding gardens, harvesting crops, feeding livestock and poultry, and cleaning canals of silt.