Ex-MythBuster Grant Imahara explores robot-human relations

A new webseries called Generation Robot features companies that create robots designed to work alongside humans.

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton

Robots portrayed in science fiction might want to kill us, take our jobs and possibly have sex with us, but that doesn't mean real-life robots are anything to fear.

Grant Imahara, robot expert and former cast member of the science reality show MythBusters, hosts a new webseries called Generation Robot to help us better understand how humans can embrace the concept of working alongside robots

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics, the five-part series features companies and universities that focus specifically on incorporating robotics into the real world. 

In the first episode, posted on April 18, Imahara visits Georgia Tech University's Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines in Atlanta. Georgia Tech is the first university to offer an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in robotics. 

Grant speaks with roboticist and IRIM Executive Director Magnus B. Egerstedt about how he sees robots interacting with humans in the future.

"Robots used to be all mechanical engineering," Egerstedt says in the video. "And now modern robotics involves psychology because almost all robots we're envisioning are actually going to work together with people. Modern roboticists need to understand not only engineering and computing, but also people."

The best part of the first video isn't necessarily hearing from the experts working at IRIM, but seeing a PR2 robot try to spoon-feed yogurt to a nervous-looking Imahara. 

The Generation Robot webseries will interview roboticists working in the US, Germany, Japan, South Korea and China to get a global perspective on where the future of robots is headed.