Fumiya Iida, a 39-year-old robotics scientist based in Zurich, Switzerland, is aiming to build a robot that will feature improved physical abilities like those found in animals. Iida notes that robotic intelligence and data processing has radically improved over the years, but most robots still have the movement vocabulary comparable to a human baby. He aims to focus on improving the physical aspect of robots in the near future.
Iida is currently serving as an associate professor in Zurich’s Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in the university’s Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems. The Japanese robotics expert says that he is looking to develop new robots that will behave “like creatures” – designing them to have physical movement and features akin to real animals, like a kangaroo’s leaping power or a honeybee’s exceptional eyesight. “A honeybee has a small brain, but has good eyesight and can communicate well with its peers,” Iida said. “If we observe animals carefully, we might be able to develop robots with similar capabilities.”
Iida has mastered his craft by doing several years of robotics research in Germany and the United States. He then moved to Zurich in 2009 to take up his current post at the university. He says that most of his colleagues in the university usually ask why he left Japan, when the Asian country is considered to be at the forefront of robotics globally. He says he agrees with this, but he also said that he wants to work abroad to see the world while he is still young. He has lately been studying the idea of developing a “growing robot.” He is looking to mimic an animal’s capacity to learn and adapt themselves to their environment in a robot. “I’m wondering whether we can apply this process to a robot as well.”
[via Japan Times]