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Is robotics about to have its own ChatGPT moment?

April 17, 2024
MIT Technology Review
Contributed by: Drex DeFord
The article highlights the transformative impact of a home robot named Stretch, which significantly increased autonomy for Henry, a user with limited mobility. Weighing about 50 pounds and controlled via laptop with head movements and mouse clicks, Stretch performed various tasks such as hair brushing, snack assistance, and engaging play with Henry's granddaughter, showcasing potential daily utility. Although Stretch possesses basic functionalities and allows for the integration of custom AI models for experimentation, its real value lies in demonstrating a shift towards practical home robotics. The narrative extends into a broader discussion on the evolution of home robots, emphasizing recent advancements in cheap hardware, data sharing, and generative AI that are propelling robots beyond past failures to meet domestic needs. This evolution addresses Moravec's paradox by focusing on improving robots' physical coordination, environmental understanding, and practical physics applications, moving closer to realizing long-standing aspirations of robots performing everyday household tasks.
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