12 June, 2016
Robots are not new to the industrial world. But as technology keeps getting better, more robots are helping humans in the workplace.
Some of the world's top robot innovators recently gathered at an expo in New York to show off their best machine workers.
One person attending the RoboUniverse expo said robots are important because they can take over tasks humans do not want. The founder and CEO of a new company called Blue Workforce, Preben Hjørnet, said robots will always assist humans, not replace them.
"Robots have no conscience, no self-awareness, so they'll never be social. But they don't need to, to make a service for us," he said.
Tom Moolayil, a technical manager at Universal Robots, agrees.
"Doing a repetitive, mundane task over and over again, I don't think that's a job any person should be doing even for a day," he said.
He added that a lot of companies with these kinds of jobs find it hard to keep workers. But luckily, robots do not mind being bored. They are also experts at repeating a task over and over again.
Advances in technology have made robots very safe.
Universal Robots demonstrated how one of its machines stopped moving after a human fell on it.
Safety is especially important in workplaces such as car factories, where humans and robots work side-by-side.
Designers at Transcend Robotics created a robot for very dangerous jobs, including mining and law enforcement. It has controllable cameras, climbs stairs and travels over rough terrain.
Chief Marketing Officer Alvin Wong said the machine aims to save lives.
"You can actually survey a hazardous environment before bringing a human into that area," he said.
While some people fear robots will replace them, Wong said machines can actually help humans perform better. For example, police officers and soldiers consider the field of robotics to be their partner.
Another use for modern robots is to help people who cannot walk.
5D Robotics showed how its navigation technology can guide people in wheelchairs along pre-programmed paths. 5D's Chief Marketing Officer, Phil Mann, said cars and airplanes can also use the same navigation technology.
Mann and his colleagues believe Americans will soon have robot co-workers. But in most cases, he said workers won't even notice – except maybe to realize that their day goes by much faster.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
Tina Trinh reported on this story for VOANews. Bryan Lynn adapted it for Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.
We want to hear from you. Do you think you would enjoy working with a robot? Write to us in the Comments section, and visit 51VOA.COM.
Words in This Story
innovator – n. person who introduces new ideas and products
task – n. job for someone to do
conscience – n. feeling inside that you did something wrong
mundane – adj. lacking interest or excitement in, dull
bored – adj. complete lack of interest in something
advances – n. progress made in improving something
terrain – n. a stretch of land
hazardous – adj. harmful, risky, dangerous
colleague – n. person who works with you