Intel researchers were showing off the capabilities of the company’s Atom processor inside a new robot project that they were developing. The project takes the form of a robot arachnid, similar in concept to Sony’s robot dog named Aibo of yore, where the creature would be autonomous–meaning no remote control through user input. Rather, utilizing the Atom processor as a brain, Intel is making the robot autonomous where it will be able to learn and interact with its surroundings. In particular, when the robot gets turned on, it won’t know how to walk yet, but will begin that journey into the learning process and will eventually be able to walk on its own. The whole project is a nice concept on the power of the Atom processor for Intel, but shows computing in a different environment beyond just netbooks and tablets.
Considering that the Atom chipset is what is found in today’s netbooks and will be found in some of tomorrow’s Android phones and tablets, it demonstrates how consumer products can be used beyond the scope in which they were intended for. In this case, robotics, autonomy, combined with 3D printing, can lead to future innovations for the Atom CPU.
Interestingly, to keep costs low and the weight of the robot light, Intel opted to print the entire robot utilizing 3D printing. Rather than the cost it would take to machine the components of the robot, the limbs–and even the bearings–were printed utilizing 3D printing techniques.
Unfortunately, due to a loose limb, Intel was unable to demo the robot when I had visited the booth.