Rodney Brooks is one of my favorite scientists: he's brilliant, accomplished (his research led to the Roomba vacuum cleaner robot), and full of predictions. Brooks is a master of robotics, having designed a wide variety of robots over the years, and he also made a memorable appearance in one of my favorite documentaries (the title Fast, Cheap and Out of Control came from a research paper of his). So it's fair to say that I'm a fan.

Brooks gave a TED Talk on robotics in 2003, and it's just been posted to the web. In it, he demos the (then-new) home cleaning robot Roomba, the military utility robot PackBot (which can climb stairs and survives being thrown down hills and through windows), and the anthropomorphic Kismet. Beyond these demos, he demonstrates how robots and humans can communicate, which he believes will form the future of robotic interaction.

Watch the video to learn a bit about state of the art robotics (well...five years ago), and what might be coming next.

For more on Brooks, check him out on Wikipedia.