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Artificial Intelligence
Episode 34 of Redefining Reality
Trace the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) from simple calculating machines to computers that can vanquish chess masters. Learn the distinction between weak AI, such as a chess-playing machine, and strong AI, which is a machine that has a truly…
The Arrival of Robot Autonomy
Episode 1 of Robotics Series
Plunge into the world of robots with this engaging introduction. When did we start thinking about robots? What three components are responsible for so many advances in robot design? Why is behavioral autonomy so essential to the development of modern…
Rise of the Drones
Part of the Series: NOVA
PBS
Drones. These unmanned flying robots-some as large as jumbo jets, others as small as birds-do things straight out of science fiction. Much of what it takes to get these robotic airplanes to fly, sense, and kill has remained secret. But…
Animal-Inspired Robot Behavior
Episode 7 of Robotics Series
Consider an approach to creating robots that's inspired not by maps but by the simple sense-and-act behavior of animals. You'll learn the benefits of behavior-based robotic architecture (including quicker reactions and stronger sensors), and see how simple animals including ants…
Space Robots in Orbit and on Other Worlds
Episode 17 of Robotics Series
Find out how space missions have pushed us to the limits of what autonomous robots can do. Central to this lecture are several fascinating robots, including Robonaut 2 (a humanoid robot working on the International Space Station) and the rovers…
Robot Actuators and Movement
Episode 3 of Robotics Series
Investigate robot actuators: the motors and transmissions that underlie all robotic movement. You'll learn about the early use of springs as motors in automata; how electricity spins the magnets that make motors move; how movement defines what a robot is;…
Basic Skills for Making Robots
Episode 8 of Robotics Series
So you want to make a robot. Where should you start? Learn how to work with tools like multimeters and solid-core wires; how to perform basic tasks including stripping wire and building simple circuits; and how to "hack" into existing…
Robot Controllers and Programming
Episode 5 of Robotics Series
What turns a remotely controlled machine into an autonomous robot? Self-control. So where does self-control in robots come from? Find out in this lecture on robot controllers: the computer-like part of robots that uses sensory information to decide how the…
Robot Bodies and Trade-Offs
Episode 2 of Robotics Series
Why just watch robots when you can understand how they actually work? Deconstruct a Roomba to learn the five functional categories of parts all robots need. Then, explore a universal lesson about robotics: because robots can't do everything well, trade-offs…
Flying Robots: From Autopilots to Drones
Episode 15 of Robotics Series
Take to the air for an eye-opening look at aerial robots, from the autopilot features in commercial airplanes to unmanned drones that can deliver packages. Topics include the role of gyroscopic sensors and recent technological advancements that are extending the…
Self-Driving Vehicles
Episode 14 of Robotics Series
Lane changes, off-roading, irregular traffic patterns--how do robotic cars handle it all? Find out in this lecture on the trade-offs (especially between speed and safety) involved in creating self-driving vehicles. Peer into the future of how you're likely to get…
Robot Sensors and Simple Communication
Episode 4 of Robotics Series
Intelligent behavior in robots is rooted in the sensors that determine how much robots know about the world around them. Professor Long demonstrates how sensors work to communicate across the electromagnetic spectrum, including through infrared (like in Roombas) and visible…
Designing a New Robot
Episode 9 of Robotics Series
Move from kits and hacks into the actual design and construction of more complex robots for research or business. As you explore the iterative decision-making process used by robotics engineers, you'll meet intriguing robots including Madeline, the first transphibian vehicle,…
Human-Inspired Robot Planning
Episode 6 of Robotics Series
In robotics, the most important problem mobile robots must solve is how to navigate, or move with purpose, in the world. Here, learn how simultaneous localization and mapping (using internal models, beacons, and dead reckoning navigation) is the key to…
Robot Arms in the Factory
Episode 11 of Robotics Series
Each year, many tens of thousands of new robots are purchased to help us manufacture cars, medicines, and other everyday materials. And it all started with variations on the robotic arm. Here, examine early prototypes of pick-and-place robots; consider the…
The Futures of Robotics
Episode 24 of Robotics Series
Because it's a multidisciplinary field, there isn't just one future for robotics, but instead multiple futures. What could some of them look like? Consider everything from companion robots that can coordinate our activities to surgical robots that can work autonomously…
Living Robots?
Episode 21 of Robotics Series
Robots are starting to perform the core features of life, to the point where it may be possible to have a robot that actually "lives." Professor Long introduces you to robots that "eat" by harvesting energy; robots that "grow" by…
Underwater Robots That Hover and Glide
Episode 16 of Robotics Series
Some of the most exciting robots on the planet are found underwater. Here, learn how today's roboticists have developed unique solutions to creating autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), like Wave Glider, that have overcome critical challenges involving sensors, power supply, and…
Hospital Robots and Neuroprosthetics
Episode 13 of Robotics Series
Hospital robots have designs and functions meant to tackle the complexity of the modern medical workplace. First, discover how robots like HelpMate and Da Vinci work in patient wards, surgical theaters, and other settings. Then, delve into the burgeoning field…
Mobile Robots at Home
Episode 12 of Robotics Series
Advancements in modern robotics have made robots useful, safe, reliable, easy to use, and affordable to have in our homes. So how exactly do different home robots--such as vacuum cleaners like Roomba, gutter cleaners like Looj, and lawn mowers like…