Using a remote control, in the sense of some old-fashioned RC car, may be a great way to control the robots of today, but what about tomorrow? Sure, the military's got some pretty impressive computer equipment out there to make sure their UAVs aren't flown into a mountain or something, but what about the general public? When robots become like pets in just a few years (it's going to happen...), we're going to need a brand new way to control them that's far easier than today's methods. That's right where Microsoft's Surface and Robot Developer Studio come in.
Designed by Mark Micire of UMass Lowell, the student managed to create a User Interface that allows him to control, with a shocking amount of it actually, where his robot minions go. As you can see in the video, the control scheme isn't all that complicated at all. It utilizes quick finger gestures and taps, allowing Micire to choose one robot at a time, or the whole group; set waypoints, and even coordinate their position and formation, all from the aerial view.
But, as the video also showcases, you will be able to zoom into street view as well, making it so you'll be able to see what exactly your little robot is looking at, too. The idea is one of the best we've seen, and even in the early stages, the implementation is top-notch. We're wondering if something like this could actually be used in a military setting (video games like Tom Clancy's End War utilized the same idea, actually), but this kind of technology is probably better suited for the "civilian" category, more than any other. What do you think?