RCS Sidelines

April 19, 2011 4:26 PM

The Turning Point in the Robot Revolution

It all started out innocent enough. We used refrigerators to preserve food. Airplanes to travel cross-country and then cross-continents. Soon we were using computers to store all of our secrets. And then we gave those computer's a voice, access to the media and physical attributes. It was only a matter of time before they rose up to destroy their creators.

I Robot.jpgThis is the path we're on people. And you can circle the year 2011 as the turning point. First it was Watson just demolishing the smartest man in the world, Ken Jennings (winning Jeopardy 74 times in a row gives him that title, right?) in a battle of brains. Then it was a computer that wrote a better story than an actual reporter (though, to be fair, an untrained chimp could've written a better article than that human). Now it's a robot taking over a tradition many Presidents, Senators, Mayors, and other celebrities have done. Wednesday afternoon at approximately 1pm, a robot will throw out the first pitch at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia:

The pitching robot has been in the makings for a month and a half as Penn engineers Jordan Brindza and Jamie Gewirtz assembled parts and wrote software in their spare time, Lerner said. They started with a Segway, gave it a robotic arm and added a third wheel. They also gave it a pneumatic cylinder, which delivers a burst of compressed carbon dioxide to power the pitch. The robot's computer brain can be tweaked to change pitch velocity and trajectory.

They did a successful test run on Monday in which the ball traveled between 30 and 40 mph. But that's by design. The robot army doesn't want to show its full force until it is ensured complete world domination. It does seem like this robot could be useful for batting practice. Each batter could have different settings and the robot would be able to identify who's in the batter's box with cameras. But the moment this robot, named PhillieBot takes the field and another computer is writing the story is the day I go off the grid. The revolution is coming folks. Be prepared.

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