You may not know it, but there are robots in your house -- the machine that bakes your bread may be one, and the box that records your favorite television show. And computer scientists are busy building even better robots all the time. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, real life R2D2's. And how science fiction conquered the world.
Rodney Brooks directs the M.I.T. Artificial Intelligence Lab. He tells Judith Strasser about Cog -- the humanoid robot his lab's been working on for several years. The scientists are thrilled that Cog's as bright as a human baby. Also, M.I.T. student Anthony Fudd is a design consultant for Lego. He tells Jim Fleming that the new Legos have programmable microchips in them so kids can build intelligent robots as well as castles and cities.SEGMENT 2:
David Miller is the technical director at the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics. He tells Judith Strasser that robotics are everywhere. He's working on space vehicles like Sojourner, his Martian explorer and soil sampler; and a robotic wheel chair.SEGMENT 3:
After a clip from the classic X Minus One, science fiction writer Thomas Disch tells Steve Paulson that sci- fi has influenced everything from cars to space travel. He worries that people can't always tell what's science and what's fiction. Disch is the author of "The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of: How Science Fiction Conquered the World."Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 98-08-23-B.
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