People shape their environment according to their own needs. If robots are to help us in our daily lives in the future, they must operate in an environment shaped by humans. Therefore, Professor Robert Renner of the Federal University of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) comparison Achievements of 27 robots – most of them human – with human capabilities. Research shows that although robots have better components than human bodies, they are not as efficient as humans, but they are catching up quickly.
This is the first study of this kind, and its main goal was to establish criteria that would allow a reliable comparison between machines and people. Therefore, strictly specialized robots, such as industrial robots, have been excluded from the research. We know that a robot that paints car bodies will do so faster and more accurately than a human and will work continuously for a long time. However, there are no other options, so such robots are excluded. A wheeled robot could easily outperform a human, but the scientist didn’t want to compare incomparable things. That’s why he looked at robots that have two or four legs and can climb stairs. They also had to have a slim figure that allowed them to pass through doors, and devices that resembled human arms to be able to lift things, and their height could not be less than 50 cm. Additionally, since these robots collaborate with people on a daily basis, they cannot operate noisily or emit exhaust fumes.
Initial analyzes surprised scientists. If we compare the individual components of robots with their counterparts in the human body—microphones with ears, cameras with eyes, or artificial bones and muscles with our own bones and muscles—the components of robotics outperform our bodies in key sensory and motor characteristics. For example, carbon fiber is more durable than bone, and if we ignore the fact that bone has the ability to self-heal, the elements of the robot are mechanically more perfect than the elements of the human body. What has stunned ETH scientists is the fact that we still cannot use these better components to build robots that move better and have more sophisticated cognition than humans.
Hence the second research result – if we compare the physical capabilities of people and robots, people are generally better off. It is true that robots can also walk and run, but if we compare their speed with their body size, weight, and energy consumption, most of them are not as good as humans. Although the cheetah robot works very fast, being able to move at a speed of approximately 22 km/h, it is characterized by high energy consumption, and the robot performs well in laboratory conditions. Humans are also significantly superior to robots in terms of endurance in terms of working time.
However, robots have an advantage over us in several aspects. For example, when balancing on one leg, the robot easily stiffens the joint and stands without any problems. People tend to have little influence, which takes a lot of energy. The robots can also accurately recognize the bending angle of a joint, so they replicate its movements very preciselyRenner adds.
In body lifting tests, the results are not so clear-cut. While robots can pick up objects very quickly, they are not as good as humans because their fists still lack the handling capabilities of human hands. Another element in which we stand out from them is the variety of movements we can perform. Most people can jump, swim, or crawl. Robots can usually only perform some of these tasks. Professor Renner gives the game of football as an example of this differentiation. Machines are still far from prevaricating, reasoning, or interpreting the behavior of other players.
Despite all these shortcomings, the world is taking notice Robots have made tremendous progress in recent years. We want to have robots that perform difficult or dangerous tasks for us. However, the human-made environment is very complex, so robots still find it difficult to operate independently and error-free in it. However, I am convinced that thanks to the amazing components we already have, we will soon be able to build better-performing robots..
Echo Richards embodies a personality that is a delightful contradiction: a humble musicaholic who never brags about her expansive knowledge of both classic and contemporary tunes. Infuriatingly modest, one would never know from a mere conversation how deeply entrenched she is in the world of music. This passion seamlessly translates into her problem-solving skills, with Echo often drawing inspiration from melodies and rhythms. A voracious reader, she dives deep into literature, using stories to influence her own hardcore writing. Her spirited advocacy for alcohol isn’t about mere indulgence, but about celebrating life’s poignant moments.