Occasionally scientists will make a discovery or technological advancement that almost immediately changes the world that we live in. However, that’s rare. It’s much more common for scientists to make advancements and discoveries that provide a foundation to change the world in the future. There are constant headlines in robotics about how some new breakthrough will change the face of whatever, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Actual application of robotic theories can take years upon years — assuming they ever even culminate in visible change.
We recently wrote about self-folding robots. There is a lot of excitement buzzing around this technology. A robot capable of creating itself and performing programmed tasks is huge. However, at the moment these robots aren’t capable of performing anything other than an elaborate shimmy. That’s not to say that they aren’t important. It’s the first crucial step in advancing automation towards being efficient, useful, and cost effective.
But the question isn’t whether or not the initial discoveries are important, which they obviously are; the question is how long before the theories are able to be put towards practical application.
The beauty of science and discovery is that it is a collaborative project that spans the history of humanity. The dream of one man or woman might not come to be until centuries later when another man or woman finishes their work. The end product can be a result of the efforts of countless individuals that span the course of time.
The rate at which we can advance discoveries is faster than ever with the connectivity, resources, and technology we have available to us today. As long as we make the initial breakthrough, the end result is bound to happen.
The thing to keep in mind is that while it’s very exciting to hear about potential applications for new technologies in things such as robotics, those applications could be very far down the road from the creation of the theory.
In the meantime, keep us in mind when your legacy Indramat components need support or repair. Theory and application in robotics may be a long way apart, but your trusty servo motors can continue to be trusty while we wait for those self-building robots to become a reality.