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Robots Can Now Access 'Brain' in the Cloud, Potentially Making Them Cheaper

First Posted: Mar 10, 2013 08:58 PM EDT
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Humans have Google and Wikipedia, now robots have Raptuya, an online database of information that helps robots "cope" in the world of humans, according to BBC News.

The Raptuya database is part of the European RoboEarth Project, a "World Wide Web for robots" which has the goal of standardizing the way robots perceive the human world. The project is designed so that robots can download information from the internet to learn about their environment and how to perform certain tasks. Rapyuta will also serve as a central database for robots to access information uploaded from other robots who may have been confronted with similar situations, problems, or objects.

The advantage of the Rapyuta's decentralized system is that by using 'the cloud' a robot doesn't need to pack huge computing power on board. Rapyuta's creators believe it will make robots cheaper as they will not need all their processing power on-board.

"On-board computation reduces mobility and increases cost." said Dr Heico Sandee, Robo Earth program manager at the Dutch University of Technology in Eindhoven in a statement. As wireless data speeds increase more and more robotic thinking could be offloaded to the web, he said.

Without access to such a database, roboticists fear machines will be restricted to working in very tightly controlled environments such as production lines and never live easily alongside humans.

As it takes a lot of computing power just to let a robot move around, Rapyuta may prove especially efficient for drones and self-driving cars, project leader Mohanarajah Gajamohan told the BBC.

The title 'Rapyuta' was inspired by the 1986 Japanese anime film of the same name, known as Castle in the Sky in English, about a mythical land of robots in the sky.

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