What Star Wars Producers Get Wrong About Android Devices

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Robin Murphy, a robotics scientist at Texas A&M University, published an article in Focus robotics science She explains her views on the robots depicted in “Star Wars”, most notably those featured in “The Mandalorian” and “The Boba Fett Book”. In her article, she said that she thinks the portrayal of robots in both films is quite imaginative, but points out that they are not wild enough to compete with the robots being made and used in the real world today.

Murphy begins by noting that one robot in particular, the Mandalorian’s IG-11, provides good visibility with a rotating head that allows shooting at targets in any direction, but she also notes that such a robot would be excessively vulnerable. A common failure and would be burdened with huge computational demands. It suggests that a more practical design might include the use of fixed-array probes.

Murphy also notes that the robots in the “Star Wars” movies sometimes fail, generally during the suspenseful scenes, which she also suggests might explain why the Empire broke out. As just one example, you wonder why Stormtroopers miss their targets so often. She also points out that in some ways, the robots in the “Star Wars” movies tend to be much more advanced than the robots in the real world, allowing them to take on human-like jobs like bartenders, teaching or translation. In doing so, she notes, film producers have moved away from being shown doing more mundane work, such as mining.

She points out that in the real world, robots are increasingly taking on arduous roles traditionally performed by humans. She points out that real-world mining automation has significantly reduced human labor costs over the past 20 years. She also questions why drones are so rare in “Star Wars” movies, noting that in the real world they have become a major part of the war effort. She notes that in a true space endeavor, a drone is currently helping the Mars rover avoid patches of Earth where it might crash.

Murphy concludes that one of the things the movies get just right is the joy that robotics can bring to those who benefit from designing and creating fictional robots in many areas of life.

How realistic are those Star Wars robots?

more information:
Robin R Murphy, The robots in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett aren’t wild enough for the real world, robotics science (2022). DOI: 10.1126 / scirobotics.abq3893

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