Robots At The 2018 Olympics, A Huge Step Forward For The Scientific Community


Yes, that's right. Robots are expected to help during the next Olympic games that will be taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea. In fact, giving the nature of some of the participants in the relay of the Olympic Torch, one might question whether the Olympic Games have become a technology fair.

The torch relay started with Professor D. Hong, the founding director of the Robotics laboratory at the University of California in Los Angeles. He then passed the torch to Hubo, the Humanoid robot which carried the torch on 500 feet at a pace of 65 steps per minute, before handing it over to another important scientist, Dr. Oh Jun Ho, the Korean robotics engineer who oversaw the team that created Hubo in 2004.

With its height of 120 centimeters and a stride of 35 centimeters, Hubo, or the "Hubot" was not just carrying the Olympic torch, it was also carrying the hope of an entire generation of scientists who see a future where technology and creativity contribute to saving lives. Since Hubo was designed to help with rescue during disasters, it got to demonstrate some of its skills during its torch-bearing session, by drilling a hole in a brick wall.

The humanoid robot was not the only machine that has been used during the relay of the torch. Professor Hong, himself carried the torch while riding a robot-driven vehicle. In addition, Dr. Oh handed the torch to another robotics fanatic, Gang Da Bin, who carried the torch with a human-controlled robot, the FX-2. It also appears that earlier in the relay, an aquatic robot helped the torch cross the ocean.

Dr. Oh commented that by making Hubo participate in one of the traditions of the Olympics, South Korea is not only displaying their progress in the robotic industry, but they also want to showcase the possible uses of robots. His excitement is supported by the president of the Olympics organizing committee, Lee Hee- Beom, who not only viewed the "robot invasion" as a victory of the Information and Communication Technology but confirmed that 85 robots will be helping during the games, with tasks such as giving information to visitors.

As much as one might want to celebrate the progress of science and the hope of a better future, we can't help to wonder what the disadvantages of using machines during such an important event might be.

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