April 25, 2015
It’s no secret that the world of robotics is swiftly changing and increasing its relevance in the human world. With every day yielding a new technology or a new app to utilize a technology, corporations and microchip manufacturers vie for a spot at the top of the robotics food chain. Companies who produce hardware, such as Samsung, are building more and more complex devices that require more and more complex robotics and microchips to operate. Smartphones are the next big thing in robotics, as the IoT (Internet of Things) expands exponentially. As smartphone manufacturers like Samsung look to lower their manufacturing costs and increase profits, while still keeping up with the robotics trends, they are beginning to enter the robotics arena themselves by developing their own microchips and modems. However, Qualcomm Technologies, a leading manufacturer of LTE technology and forerunner in the collaboration between smartphone and robotic technologies, plans to unveil some new ways in which smartphones will become even smarter with the help of Qualcomm robotic technology.
The Future of Robotics
Perhaps the most exciting news of the future of smartphone technology is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820. Qualcomm recently announced that it is working on this new type of processor—the first of its kind—that will enable smartphones to learn. With the launch of Snapdragon 820, smartphones equipped with the new technology will be able to acquire information about their environments and their users, and detect sounds and motions to make educated decisions of their own.
This type of autonomous decision-making has thus far been met with mixed reactions when it has been incorporated, to different extents, intopast devices. For example, vehicles that were recently released with many programs that made the cars able to nearly drive themselves, such as automatic parallel parking, were not accepted or desired by everyone. Now, vehicle manufacturers actually market to the opposite side, appealing to drivers who wish to gain back the power they had before most of the power was given to the vehicle to make decisions of its own.
This attitude reflects the natural human tendency to lean away from machines that make decisions of their own and take actions without our telling them to do so. However, smartphone technology that has the ability to act on its own does have benefits. A smartphone is something that nearly every person now carries with them at all times. Having a smartphone in your pocket that can work with you as a sort of side-kick when you need it has the potential to be a great safety measure. Especially with the rise of assault rates on college campuses, students could carry smartphones in their pockets or purses that video-tape or record audio of an event when the phone senses an attack is underway. The phone could also be programmed to call for help when a certain set of circumstances arises. In this way, a person alone in the dark is never truly alone if they have their smartphone.
New Robotic Technology in Smartphones
William Harris, VP of Marketing at Dollar Hobbyz, a highly popular niche RC retailer that works extensively with robotics, speaks to the many new uses of robotics in smartphones that have less to do with safety and more to do with fun and futuristic smart-house convenience. When asked, “What is the future of smartphone technology in robotics?” Harris responded:
“The technologies that we are already cramming into these small devices are the same technologies that we need for many robotics applications, such as accelerometers and cameras, along with the languages that allow for rapid development of simple applications, like Swift. We are entering the age of the IoT (Internet of Things) – and it only makes sense for many of those things to be powered by the ‘universal remote’ we carry around with us every day. In essence, every single item in your home will be a type of robot, your fridge, your toaster, even the walls themselves – built with the technologies that smartphones are making more cost effective with every passing week.”
Smartphone robotics is already playing a role in entertainment technology, especially in drones. William Harris directly relates the success of Dollar Hobbyz drones with smartphone robotics:
“The AR Drone is one of the hottest selling items we have – and a lot of that is probably attributed to the control system being a smartphone.”
Thus, with endless possibilities for applications, Qualcomm’s release of smartphone robotic technology is all set to make a major splash in the technology field. While tech geeks are waiting eagerly for this splash, it would be worthwhile to wait and watch how quickly te technology and its benefits reach common people, and how quickly public is able to integrate this change possible in their daily life.
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