"Metal under tension — begging you to touch and go
Highway to the Danger Zone
Right into the Danger Zone"
— "Danger Zone," Top Gun Soundtrack, Kenny Loggins, 1986.
As I have mentioned before, I sit next to our robot. His name is Bishop. I use the term robot loosely since there is debate as to whether or not this is indeed a robot. A robot is supposed to be able to respond to its environment. This Universal Robot arm only does what we tell it. It will sense contact with something, like a human, and stop before hitting the person too hard, but other than that, it just responds to its set of preprogrammed commands.
Due to my proximity, a common question I overhear is "What does it do?" Our interest is not so much in what the robot arm can do, but how we humans tell it to do what we want it to do. We're investigating easier ways to program robots. Our customer, Bot & Dolly, made quite a splash by programming robots using a Maya-based interface. We'd like to go beyond that. Yes we could talk about theory, which we do, but we also want to include practice. And that's where Bishop comes in. Bishop is located on the 2nd floor of One Market. As part of our safety protocol, we have the ability to rope off the area when Bishop is in use. I guess you could say we're armed and dangerous.
A robot arm is alive in the lab.