Man has created machines in the form of mechanical humans since antiquity. The sculpted faces of the early automatons gave us a glimpse of the future we currently live in. Some of today’s machines look like humans, move like humans, talk like humans, and at a rapidly increasing pace even think like humans. We marvel at the technological capabilities of these robots and how they are being integrated into our daily lives. At the same time, we fearfully watch how robots reach human potential. The process to create robots that aid and interact with humans in many aspects of life and work started hundreds of years ago and has led to robots in all shapes, sizes and utilities.
Today a technical revolution is taking place that changes life, work and relationships between humans and machines. Those in the know call it the fourth industrial revolution and say that the scale and complexity of this change is more impactful to our existence than what we have ever experienced in human history. As a photographer Wanda is inspired to mark, document and visualize this important period in scientific development with an extensive series of robot images that define and describe the evolution of these robots.
Humans and most all creatures have through evolutionary processes developed incredible functionalities with unbelievable efficiency. Scientists and engineers recognized this and have sucessfully trying to mimic what biology has found as lasting solutions to a need. For example, how to design a robot that can walk with minimal energy use. The early Honda AZIMO robot used ten times more energy to walk than a human even through it weighed as much as a human. These days, companies such as Boston Dynamics are able to get close to human efficiency with their humanoid robots. They achieved this by closely studying how humans walk; most of the time we just lean forward and constantly catch ourselves from falling on our face thereby moving forward in an extremely energy efficient fashion. In running an exaggerated version of this is called chi-running. Many labs at universities and industries have developed bio-mimetic robots of all kinds ranging from human legs walking without any enegy, to robot geckos climbing up glass walls, to flying birds and buzzing insects. Many of these developments find their way into the humanoid and android robots as well as robot versions of creatures other than human. One example is tiny bee robots for pollination.