Robot Musings: Robotic Complexity Rating (RCR)
April 22, 2012
I have been thinking for a while about how one might rate a robot for its level of complexity or sophistication, perhaps assigning it a number or code that classifies it based on its advancement. If they can assign colors bands to resistors, there should be some way to rate a robot as well.
What first got me thinking about this was the blog on robot tricks/skills. My first thought was that the more tricks a robot could perform then the higher its “Robot Complexity Rating” (RCR) would be. At first this seemed great. Dumbbot can do 2 tricks and thus is a RCR 2. Smartbot can do 8 tricks and is an RCR 8. MegaBrilliantbot can cook you dinner, balance your check book and apply the Heimlich maneuver if you choke on a hot dog, RCR 136 at maybe.
But when you look through the robots on LMR it quickly becomes clear this is too simple an approach. For one thing, some tricks/skills are harder than others. STOP, WANDER, GUARD, none of those are exceptionally hard. On the other hand walking on legs, or walking on two legs, or balancing on two wheels are much more advanced skills or challenges than just standing there trying not to catch on fire.
Robotix 5 - http://letsmakerobots.com/node/32281
EquipoiseBot - http://letsmakerobots.com/node/32012
Red Dragon - http://letsmakerobots.com/node/32012
Are just a few examples from many of robots I consider demonstrating advanced features. Perhaps tricks/skills should be rated by difficulty and the highest level trick a robot can perform becomes part of its RCR code? For instance:
STOP, WANDER, GUARD – all examples of Class 1 or perhaps Class A tricks, simple tricks.
WALK, FIND (object), FOLLOW (person or object) – are Class B tricks.
BALANCE (on two feet or wheels) is a Class C trick.
Using this, a walking robot that can do 5 tricks one of which is FOLLOW would become categorized as a RCR 5-B robot.
But is that enough? Just controlling a lot of actuators should count for something, as some of these robots are like watching a Swiss watch in motion, graceful, sophisticated, and amazingly well crafted. Perhaps the number of actuators should be part of the rating. In that case, a hexapod with 3 servos per leg that can do 5 tricks would be a 5-B-18 robot.
I can’t say I have come to a complete idea formed on this. Might craftsmanship or finish be a forth rating factor?
Anyway this is all of my thoughts on this for now. What ideas, comments, or suggestions might the rest of you have?