Young developers in China are looking to raise money through the power of crowdfunding for a six-legged robot, which is said to be the very first of its kind in consumer market. The young startup, Vincross, is promoting their own brand of robot – HEXA – that they say no similar robot can compete with.
Also known as a hexapod, creators say hardly can other type of robot roam across unstable terrain, but this one can because of its strong ability. Therefore, according to Sun Tianqi, a 27-year-old artificial intelligence scientist, this makes it one of the only viable and worthwhile robots today.
HEXA, an open artificial life form, is already making many things possible. Six legs, each with three independent joints, make it possible to move across any type of terrains, no matter the barriers and obstacles. HEXA could even climb stairs that were higher than his height. In the middle of this robot is a head with eyes that can rotate in any direction. Simply put: HEXA doesn’t have to turn around per se, which allows it to utilize its sensors and have quicker reaction times to its surroundings.
And that’s just the exterior element of HEXA. When looking on the inside, the software is fierce, and we can already foresee real-world results. For instance, children can educate HEXA to make all sorts of movements, while reporters can control the robot with a mobile application. In addition to its extensive software capabilities, HEXA offers an array of open hardware ports, which can be utilized to install arms or ears for greater functions.
Predecessors to HEXA are rather primitive and provide only a temporary peek into the future of AI. However, HEXA developers say it gives us more than a peek but rather a glimpse into the great advancements of AI and robotics. Essentially, at the present time, if everyone owned HEXA then they’re lives would be completely transformed.
On this premise alone, Tianqi and his professional team of like-minded scientists are prepared to start crowdfunding, and compete with the likes of Softband’s Pepper or UBTech’s ALPHA Robot. By crowdfunding, Tianqi believes more people can not only participate in owning HEXA but take part in its development, diversity and research. Doing this, says Tianqi, AI can come to life and be an important component to the day-to-day lives of everyone else around the world.
“Computers are not the best platform to research AI. They only exchange information and have no physical interaction with the world,” said Tianqi in an interview with Examiner. “If humans couldn’t walk and experience the world around them, how could they have developed the kind of intelligence they have? This is why if we are to truly research AI, we need to create something that is alive.”
Ultimately, HEXA can be a tool for all of us and our daily lives. It can be a boon for commercial endeavors, while serving as a tremendous aid for seniors. It can assist military servicemen, while aiding healthcare workers. HEXA, even in its infant form, is proving to be a diverse, multi-faced machine that will eventually be an icon in the realm of AI.
But Tianqi and HEXA may diverge from the norm of AI, which is perhaps the most intriguing part of this story. Rather than monopolizing a single area of research, much like his peers in the industry do, Tianqi wants to break down the walls of monopoly.
“I’m not against the commercial sector– my first chance to do real science was given to me by a commercial enterprise,” said Tianqi. “What I’m against state monopolies. The commercial sector may have forced a branch of academics to monopolize a single area of research, but I want to use true commercialism to break this monopoly.”
In the end, Tianqi is not only revolutionizing AI, he’s also changing up the status quo of AI research and development. Is this another story of David and Goliath, but in the sphere of science? If it has anything to do with a state monopoly as powerful as that in China then perhaps it is. Vincross will have to slay the state not with weapons but with microchips.