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Are walking, talking, feeling robots like Chappie in our future?

Chappie

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(Mar. 5, 2015) -- Coming to theaters Mar. 6, the film Chappie is about the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. The filmmakers claim that this story "will change the way the world looks at robots and humans forever."

UTSA mechanical engineering assistant professor Pranav Bhounsule is an expert on two-legged robots and human-robot interaction. His research focuses on motion control of humanoid robots.

Could robots like Chappie become part of our every day society?

"It seems impossible as of now. But who knows?" shares Bhounsule. "Not long ago, mankind thought that flying planes, GPS, and internet was fiction. Today we have these technologies and they have impacted every one of us in a major way. I hope the same for robots like Chappie."

As far as the current state of robot technology, he says there are already robots that are better and more effective than humans but they are built and programmed to do very specific tasks, like cleaning the floor or picking up items from a conveyor belt.

"A more generic robot that looks and moves like a human, a humanoid robot, could be at least as versatile as a human, if not better," says Bhounsule. "But current humanoid robots are very limited in their capability. We have not been able to get robots to: think like humans, a problem in artificial intelligence; see and distinguish like humans, a problem in sensing and perception; and move like humans, a problem in dynamics and control."

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Learn more about Bhounsule on the Meet a Roadrunner website or his faculty Web page.

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