There have been many headlines about “killer robots” and invasion of privacy. They protest that robots will soon choose targets and then bomb or shoot those targets under their own direction and will also invade people’s privacy through the use of drones. The issue, without the hyperbole, is whether there should be controls, what those controls should be, and who should administer them so that when advanced autonomous versions of today’s drones happen, as is sure to be the case 10-30 years from now, they won’t have the capability to kill people without human and governmental supervision and observe without legal authority.
Most robotics hobbyists will be familiar with the name SparkFun, associating it with an electronics and robotics parts and kits supply house, located in Boulder, Colorado, and perhaps also with the instructional videos they publish on their YouTube channel.
The SparkFun Autonomous Vehicle Competition (AVC) for 2013 took place Saturday, June 8th, on a strip of land separating Boulder Reservoir from a private lake to the south. The event site was fenced in, encompassing what I’d guess to be about ten acres, with an adjacent area of water of similar dimensions marked off by buoys for the aerial course. There was also a fence around the ground course, to separate the vehicles from the crowd.
The attached video, posted by Make Magazine, addresses what was apparently a subject of much discussion at the 2012 Open Hardware Summit, this past Thursday, which is MakerBot’s decision not to share the design files for its Replicator(TM)2 3D printer. What follows is the description that accompanies the video, with links inserted
While not strictly about robotics, there is a high degree of overlap between the open source hardware movement and hobbyist robotics. In particular, 3D printers are frequently employed to fabricate parts for robots.