Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The metaphor of the cyborg soul rears its head again

It's no wonder that critics often have a knee-jerk tendency to distrust technology without nuanced considerations of research and applications. This article brings to mind the cyberpunk representations of cyborg souls in machines (e.g. Rudy Rucker's idea of a soul being transferred to a Mister Frostee ice cream truck). The metaphor persists in an intriguing way, despite the fact that it would be just as easy here to say "remote control."
Robot with 'human soul' explores remotely - tech - 21 November 2006 - New Scientist Tech: "Technology that lets a human 'inhabit' the body of a distant robot for remote exploration is being tested in Germany.

The robot sits on top of a wheeled platform and has an extendable arm that it uses to manipulate objects. An operator moves the robot around by simply walking or using a foot pedal and can see out of twin cameras positioned on the robot's head after donning a head-mounted display.

The controller's wrist is also connected to a touch sensitive (haptic) interface that controls the robot's arm. Furthermore, a wearable glove provides control over a three-fingered hand at the end of the robot's arm.

Force-feedback gives the operator a sense of the robot's physical interactions with its surroundings – by providing resistance to the user if the robot is pushing up against or grasping something, for example. Meanwhile, microphones relay surrounding noises to a pair of headphones."


Post a Comment

<< Home