Texas A&M University professor Robin Murphy thinks robots such those featured in the "Star Wars" movies could have practical communicative applications.
"In real life, [roboticist] Robin Read has found that the types of beeps and whistles that facilitate the rebel-droid interaction can be effectively used by real robots in engaging children and adults," Murphy says.
On the other hand, she notes spherical robots such as BB-8 have less practical use in terms of navigation, despite how they appear to function in the films. "Anyone who has driven a car on a beach knows how quickly wheels can become buried in the sand and spin in place," Murphy says. She cites the research of other roboticists such as the Georgia Institute of Technology's Dan Goldman, who conducted tests with the Sphero BB-8 toy on sand to see how it performed.
Still, Murphy credits "Star Wars" droids for significantly influencing real-world robotics.
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