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The Robot in the Cloud: A Conversation With Ken Goldberg


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University of California, Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg

"Google's self-driving cars are cloud robots. Each can learn . . . [and send] information to the Google cloud, where it can be used to improve the performance of other cars," says University of California, Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg.

Credit: Robert Vente / UC Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley professor Ken Goldberg has spent three decades in the field of robotics and has published more than 170 peer-reviewed articles about robots. Goldberg, who currently is focused on cloud robotics and its potential applications in medical fields, is establishing a research center that will focus on developing surgical robots.

Goldberg says cloud robotics is an application of the basic principles of cloud computing and storage to robotics: moving the heavy-duty processing tasks into the cloud, which he notes offers two major benefits. First, robots no longer need to carry large amounts of computer hardware, and second, they get access to more computing resources than they could ever carry. Goldberg says moving robotics to the cloud enables machine-learning and big data techniques to be applied to a group of robots rather than to individual machines. "One robot can spend 10,000 hours learning something, or 10,000 robots can spend one hour learning the same thing," he says.

Cloud robotics already is being employed by Google's self-driving cars, which send the information they gather to the Google cloud, enabling it to improve the performance of all of its cars. Goldberg says health care also holds numerous possibilities for cloud-based robotics, from administering radiation therapies to suturing wounds and giving patients intravenous fluids.

From The New York Times
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