At first glance, the Global Mobile Internet Conference might seem like a strange place to locate a conference on robotics. However, the morning speakers at the Global Robotics Conference in Beijing were quick to point out the way that mobile technology is influencing the robot industry.
Matt Grob from Qualcomm explained smartphones have been revolutionizing robotics, just as they have been changing other industries. The rapid replacement cycle of mobile technology is influencing the way robots are prototyped and built .
Drones are a well-studied example: the competition amongst manufacturers, driven by cheap drones which can be controlled with a smartphone, has forced prices down, and increased features, to levels unimaginable just a few years ago.
It’s now possible to create a small 3D printed robot which uses computer vision on a smartphone to control it: the barriers to protoyping a robot have fallen away.
Fang Xu, the Director of Research Institute, at Robot and Automation Co. Ltd highlighted that the main growth in robotics over the next few year will not be in traditional industrial aplications but other areas including service robots, the education & entertainment industries, medical and rehabilitation, and elderly care.
Andy Pan is Partner and Ecosystem VP of DJI, the company behind the iconic Phantom drone. DJI released a developer SDK back in November and Mr Pan announced the SDK will now allow even more models of drones to be controlled with custom software. By allowing developers to create apps to control drones, a multitude of new applications have been opened up, from agriculture to archaeology and disaster recovery.
The only limit is your imagination.
Author: Matt Mayer