Engineers develop a white robotic arm

What are the next frontiers for AI and robotics?

From human-centered design to robotic imagination, discover the ideas and innovations driving artificial intelligence and robotics today.

At WGSN, we’ve been tracking the growth opportunities and added value that AI and robotics can bring to people’s lives, both at home and in the workplace. While significant growth has been achieved, what additional breakthroughs do we need to incite true mass adoption?

Here’s a look at the major trends and where the industry is headed:

Human centered design

While computers have been around since the 1930s, it wasn’t until 50 years later that they arrived with the advent of graphical user interfaces (GUIs), kickstarting the multi-trillion dollar industry we know today. Likewise, focusing on the usability of AI and bot technologies is key to driving adoption.

In industrial contexts, an increasing focus is on easy-to-use robots that do not require a high level of expertise to operate. Software companies like Canada-based Omnirobotic are addressing this issue with their platform that makes it easy to set up standalone bot applications with minimal placements and little to no manual programming. Meanwhile, US-based Ready Robotics’ Forge/OS platform integrates with hundreds of brands of industrial robots and lets operators manage them with a simple, flowchart-style visual programming interface.

The use of these technologies is increasing; Gartner expects global AI software revenues to grow 21.3% in 2022 to a market of $62.5 billion.



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General intelligence bots

Existing machine learning techniques are used to teach robots specific tasks, but they are rigid and do not handle variance well. For a future where intelligent robots can handle more work, robots need to understand setting and context.

“Lifestyle robots must be able to augment human capabilities and potential, to explore, evaluate, experiment and extend what they already know when we are faced with an unknown problem,” says Oliver Tian, ​​Vice President at Global Robot Clusters.

At AIBotics 2022, a conference addressing the adoption of artificial intelligence in robotics, researchers from the National University of Singapore and Johns Hopkins University presented a new framework that helps robots understand the cost of things rather than what they look like. They have successfully taught the robots the purpose of a chair (the cost of sitting) and how to set up a chair for a person to sit comfortably in. Coined by “Robot Imagination,” this method could make home robots smarter and better at solving problems independently.

Robots for the elderly

Many societies globally are facing rapid population aging, which raises concerns about slowing economic growth and societal issues such as mobility and social participation. Some governments are looking to technology to combat these problems, partnering with private companies and academics to redesign the cities and communities of the future.

The vision of Japan Society 5.0 aims to address the issue of population aging by digitizing the entire society, using remote technologies to enable its residents to work for longer while leaving routine work to artificial intelligence. In Susono, the government is collaborating with Japanese automaker Toyota on Woven City, an experimental city with 360 residents, most of whom are elderly. The project will test automated mobility innovations and smart home developments, including underground parcel delivery and a garbage disposal system.

AI and robotics trends will influence how we work, play and learn in the future. WGSN subscribers can check out Main trend: artificial intelligence in action A report to identify the short-term effects of this revolution.

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