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Chapter 2. Robot Evolution > Robotic Evolution Through Open Networking

Robotic Evolution Through Open Networking

The most revolutionary development in robotics in the last decade is not a robot at all, but a gigantic human-machine hybrid brain called the Internet. The Internet was originally developed as a means for scientists, academics, and researchers to share information and ideas. The World Wide Web (a hyper-linkable interface to that Internet) was also created with this academic information and idea sharing in mind. In amongst today’s online superstores, mailbox spam, red light districts, and dancing hamster fan pages, that sharing and collaborative spirit lives on. The Internet has become a place where robot builders can create or subscribe to e-lists, build Web sites, participate in Yahoo! discussion groups, read (or publish) technical papers, and use other powerful Net tools, many of them free of charge. In this global forum, professionals, academics, and amateur roboticists discuss building bots; exchange design ideas, schematics, and robot control programs; and show off pictures and movies of their creations like proud new parents. Not only are these groups communicating all of this amazing stuff among themselves, but also across their respective groups. Amateurs now have unprecedented access to the work of academics and professionals, and these groups are gaining newfound respect for work being done by nonprofessionals. There is nothing more inspiring than being involved in a heady (and heated) online discussion about robot minutia, only to discover months into it that the group you’ve been learning so much from includes a high school student, a rocket scientist, an artist, several academics, a lawyer, and assorted computer geeks. In cyberspace, nobody knows (or cares) if you’re an amateur as long as you have something meaningful to contribute.

Tip

To tangle yourself up in the World Wide Web of robotic goodness, skitter on over to Chapter 12.



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