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IBM Robotics Technology

IBM Robotic Coworker Will Help Engineers Fix Broken Systems 56

coondoggie writes "When it comes to fixing broken systems, especially in remote locations, engineers could soon turn to a new mobile robotic system IBM is developing that could help them more easily find the broken equipment, offer up information about the system and provide real-time visual support from supervising experts. The mobile maintenance, repair and operations prototype includes an application that lets a supervisor monitor an engineer's progress towards the maintenance site, and a robotic arm coupled with a camera system, a microphone and laser pointer."
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IBM Robotic Coworker Will Help Engineers Fix Broken Systems

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    But can it fix my broken coworker? Morale is horrible, wages are stagnant and our future is bleak. Please invent a robot to fix that.

    • Re:But ... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by icebike ( 68054 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @09:12PM (#43542339)

      But can it fix my broken coworker? Morale is horrible, wages are stagnant and our future is bleak. Please invent a robot to fix that.

      The operative words were in the Summary:

      lets a supervisor monitor an engineer's progress towards the maintenance site,

      That's basically the whole point isn't it! They could care less about actually helping the worker fix anything
      as long as they know he's not stopping off for a pint along the way.

      • Ok then, just have them wear a fucking Looxcie and be done with it already. I'd rather be self-employed than work with someone looking over my shoulder at all times and badgering me on like a back seat driver. But in all seriousness, this might let management QC check the final results now and then for clients that have had a poor maintenance record. When there's a risk of losing a client, typically you want as many eyes as possible to validate the sources of contention between client and vendor. Secondly a

    • But can it fix my broken coworker? Morale is horrible, wages are stagnant and our future is bleak. Please invent a robot to fix that.

      They already have. Google Japanese fembots.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @08:41PM (#43542159)

    and it will mix up Chicago and Toronto

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      Which is OK if, like Watson, it also says 'I have very little confidence this answer is correct'. But it is so easy to forget that part, isn't it?

  • Another acronym from IBM in 5... 4... 3...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Two... one... ze-- IBM has sold their Robotic Coworker division to Lenovo.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @09:00PM (#43542281) Homepage

    Watch the IBM video. The robot is the supervisor. The robot tells the human what to do. Sometimes there's someone remotely controlling the robot; sometimes it's following canned instructions. The human is there to do the manual labor.

    This is the future.

    Machines should think. People should work.

  • Vast test bed there. Good luck.


  • by EETech1 ( 1179269 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @09:33PM (#43542475)

    You likely won't wanna service the computer of the future. Liquid cooled where it has to be, tightly packed and hot as hell everywhere else!

    The cool aisle will be replaced by the hotter aisle, and no human would wanna spend more than 5 minutes in it, even with a proper burn resistant suit on!



    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      The article says nothing about computers. It says 'equipment in large manufacturing operations'.

      • In ten years, something equal to today's fastest supercomputer will fit in a passively cooled box the size of a shipping container, so densely packed they'll need a robot to go in and bring you the faulty board to repair or replace it.

        It will also help with legacy systems...

        A lot of what was said sounded to me like how to manage massive remote, lights-out datacenters (or other fully automated locations) for service and repair, and that IBM teamed up with someone having experience with complex facto

        • by bws111 ( 1216812 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @10:22PM (#43542721)

          Read it (and watch the video) again. The 'robot' is a smart phone with an app, a special pair of glasses, and a device with a camera, laser pointer, and microphone. A person is still doing all the work, the 'robot' is just a way to get assistance from someone in a remote location.

          From TFA: "IBM says the smart maintenance project is the result of collaboration with the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) which works to develop high-tech systems that can resolve advanced manufacturing problems."

          All the video talks about is solving manufacturing problems, nothing at all to do with datacenters.

        • imagine a computer that could fit into a single shipping container and hold millions of pieces of information... this is divine inspiration folks :)

      • still a good way to save on hvac expenses []

  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @09:34PM (#43542491)

    Ok, that is the stupidest thing I've ever seen. It's a simple ticketing system just like any company has, but now it tracks the techs via GPS and watches what they do via webcam. I'm sure mentioning you use such a system will have potential employees jumping at the chance to let you track and video tape them throughout their workday. Whos idiotic idea was this?

  • "I see you're trying to fix a linear accelerator, would you like some help?"

    And who is responsible when the system tells the human to incorrectly repair something? If taken to the extreme companies will (attempt to) hire the least expensive human asset and expect the computer system to provide infallible information.

  • by fragMasterFlash ( 989911 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @11:17PM (#43542973)
    Thank goodness this is an IBM product rather than another MS abomination. Future history could have read 2014: The year Clippy became self aware and doomed the fate of Internet in a nanosecond
  • Just don't ask it to open the pod bay doors.

  • "Dude, I swear it's the AE35 unit!"
  • "Now, how would you like to schedule a service call to have a human come out and repair it? You can:

    - Chat online with a RoboChat

    - Chat online with a Human-like software chat service

    - Go through 1000 hoops to get a phone number to talk to automated systems that probably won't remember any account numbers or company names your devices are associated with

    - Get sent to the IBM SignMeUp page, which is only occasionally up and running, to get a $1000/mo minimum service to be able to call off-shore or $3000/mo m

  • When we finally get around to ordering Asimo to clean up Fukushima, this is how we'll make sure he doesn't just head for the pub instead ...
  • The University of Sheffield engineering staff proped up by IBM funding put a laser pointer on a remote controlled camera; these are, desparate times indeed. Amazng, the voice who's tone can cure insomnia says this will help maintanence workers find the machine that's broke? The demo goes on to use cell phones for people to coordinate and communicate with each other. Earth shaking concept, that the hole factory has to shut down so that the repair guy can hear the instructions.
  • by oheso ( 898435 ) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @10:47AM (#43546085)
    I'm thinking the real robot is the narrator. They need to work on increasing the amount of inflection in the voice to make it sound more natural ...
  • I'm just scared I'll come home one day and find it screwing a toaster.

  • a robotic arm coupled with a camera system, a microphone and laser pointer

    If the robotic arm picks up the microphone this could herald the birth of Robot Karaoke.

One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.