I thought about building a robot for a long time but I have been procrastinating for all sorts of reasons. Until now.
I am busy enough with my day job of building mobile apps and staying on top of latest trends and development of related technology. After work I am also very passionate about, well, building more mobile apps. Starting new projects that require significant time investment isn't easy.
That changed at the beginning of 2017. The itch to get into robotics has been sitting at the back of my mind long enough, I decided to make time for it.
Why is robotics worth spending my time on? It is not like there are a lot of well-paid, interesting robotics jobs at the moment after all. Not in Sydney anyway. And that is because there are currently no widely popular robotics products in the market yet. So, why robotics? For me, it is because:
Building intelligent robots presents a unique combination of challenges that involves many domains: hardware and software, low-level computing involving drivers and operating system, high-level computing such as computer vision, voice recognition, natural language processing and understanding, knowledge representation, and applying interesting techniques like machine learning.
Robotics development has now reached a stage where the cost of building a sophisticated robot has become very affordable. This is in terms of both the hardware cost and the open-source software available.
At the same time, one could say that robotics is still in its infancy, as there are still many unresolved challenges, and there is a much higher chance for an individual to make significant contributions to the field.
Probably the real reason is, I think this is really, really cool. I will have an interesting thing or two to share for “What did you do on the weekend?”
At some point in this century, there will be intelligent robots that take on household chores and work on undesirable and dangerous tasks. They will be affordable for a substantial percentage of the population. This will reduce our work hours, allow us to spend more time on enjoyable activities, and help us explore the unexplored. Artificial servants existed as an idea for a few thousand years and is finally coming to reality in our lifetime.
This is an exciting time!