Rapyuta Is A Hive Mind For Robots In The Cloud

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Just as we share all sorts of tidbits about our lives over the web, The scientists over at RoboEarth have created an open source network that robots can use to share and reuse knowledge amongst themselves. Called Rapyuta, think of it as an Facebook for robots.

Smarter robots with higher computational abilities require more memory and hardware. That’s just Robotics 101. RoboEarth offers to take all of that heavy-duty computation and upload it into the cloud, where any robot might be able to interface with it at any time to learn from other robots how to deal with any given situation. The catalog of behaviors can make dumb robots smarter without a lot of on-board computing.

Rapyuta, which was publicly released last month, will eventually hold an ocean of information robots can access. They write:

Data stored in the RoboEarth knowledge base include software components, maps for navigation (e.g., object locations, world models), task knowledge (e.g., action recipes, manipulation strategies), and object recognition models (e.g., images, object models).

So yes, soon two of these mechanical monstrosities will be able to communicate with each other, learn from prior experience, and effectively work together to kill you. Or complete all of your household chores, depending upon which futuristic scenario you’re thinking about here.

Sci-fi fans will note that this all sounds pretty ominous and the company isn’t doing us any favors. If they want to assure us that Rapyuta won’t become a precursor to a real-life Skynet, they might at the very least stop with the cultural touchstones. Never mind that the robots in the flying island Laputa (a few letters away from Rapyuta) from the Japanese animated feature Castle in the Sky threaten to annihilate human civilization, but RoboEarth calls the robots that interface with Rapyuta as Hardware Abstraction Layers AKA HALs.

Maybe a robopocalypse is in the offing after all.