Lifelike animatronics, next-generation surgeons and mechanical warfighters -- words that might create visions of a Sci-Fi blockbuster. However, these innovations in high-tech robotics are real and you need look no further than Florida to find them. The history between the state and robotics is a long one. Since the birth of IBM PC in Boca Raton in 1981, the Second Machine Age has been thriving in the Sunshine State.
Florida's robotics revolution covers a lot of ground, including mobility assistance and research, but a common theme found in the state's innovation reliance on technology that defies human capabilities, including in the life sciences. Seamless procedures on the spine, cancer cells and more have been enhanced by robotics at the Florida Hospital Global Robotics Institute and Mazor Robotics, both in Orlando. Similarly, Kissimmee-based Photon-X explores the science of photonics, such as fiber optics, in applications for robotics surgery.
According to Photon-X President and CEO Blair Barbour, Medical robotics is the next generation of surgery. The technology is perfected to eliminate human error from procedures, making it possible to enhance surgeries and surgeon capabilities with better hand-eye coordination. Tests have proven that patients also heal faster through robotic surgery.
The Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Pensacola takes a different approach to defying human capabilities. By pairing scientists and robots to develop systems using complicated human thought process and versatile machines, IHMC develops systems that save lives in situations where help is needed but the risk is too great for human response, including in nuclear meltdown sites and space exploration.
To develop the groundbreaking technology that Florida has become known for, the world's most talented scientists are required, and the state has made it possible to attract and retain that talent. Says Julie Sheppard, general counsel of IHMC, Being in Florida helps us with our recruitment. In addition to the exciting work, IHMC is able to hire top talent due to Florida's weather, our affordable housing and all the access to waterways for recreational purposes. We are especially appealing to scientists from cities with a higher cost of living because we offer our employees a more attractive lifestyle.
Homegrown talent is cultivated at colleges throughout the state, including the Tallahassee-based Center for Intelligent Systems, Control, and Robotics (CISCOR), a cooperative program between Florida A&M University and Florida State University. As one of the top schools in the country for development and implementation of robotics technology, CISCOR's students focus on studying mechanical design and human-robot interaction, including mobility in complex environments.
In addition, the Army has collaborated with students to develop automated motion planning, terrain classification and design and modeling of four-legged robots.