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18:00 09 January 2013 Long before anyone had heard of the "uncanny valley", people knew that human-like artificial beings can make us feel uncomfortable. Richard Fisher
Kojiro is an advanced musculoskeletal humanoid robot under development at the University of Tokyo's JSK Robotics Laboratory . Kojiro's creators designed its body to mimic the way our skeleton, muscles, and tendons
It can walk, squat, kneel, and even do push-ups. PETMAN is an adult-sized humanoid robot developed by Boston Dynamics, the robotics firm best known for the BigDog quadruped.
This is it, folks. The epitome of robotics. After some practice runs , PR2 has successfully managed to bake itself a cookie completely from scratch: Not being a baker, I'm not sure if it's normal for the cookie to look more or less the same coming out of the oven as it does going in .
Donned in a gauzy dental gown, the PR2 robot lifts its left hand and grasps the mixing bowl placed in front of it. The robot’s right hand, equipped with a rubber spatula, shortly follows suit, veering inside the bowl and towards the mound of softened butter waiting inside. Then, in a concentrated and meticulous manner, the PR2 turns its head down towards the bowl, and slowly begins mixing the butter. The process of creaming butter and sugar, mixing in a handful of dry ingredients and sprinkling in chocolate chips to make cookies is a recipe simple enough for most humans to follow, but for a robot it is a complex task that requires hours of hierarchical planning by roboticists and real-time planning by the robot.
Well, it's inevitable now. RoboGames obviously needs to add a new event: robot pool. Willow Garage got their PR2 sinking balls as part of a week-long hackathon, and at ICRA , the Germans answered back with a similarly-sized dual arm robot able to pocket five balls in a row:
It probably happens hundreds if not thousands of times every day; two college roommates get together to make some pancakes for dinner. The only difference this time is that the parties involved were robots. In this case, two robots from the Munich-based cluster of excellence CoTeSys (Cognition for Technical Systems) starred as chefs, demonstrating their capabilities in the world of robotics -- and in the kitchen. In the video below, you can see James, a PR2 Beta Program robot, opening and closing cupboards and drawers, removing the pancake mix from the refrigerator, and handing it over to Rosie . Rosie is another robot at TUM that is deployed in the Assistive Kitchen environment of the Intelligent Autonomous Systems Group .
Aldebaran Robotics has just announced that it's going to open the source code of its popular humanoid robot Nao . The French firm has been developing Nao over the past five years, turning an initially obscure robot with a quirky name into a widely adopted research and education platform used to study human-robot communication , help treat hospitalized children , and play soccer . It's not yet clear exactly which parts of Nao's software platform will become open source and which will remain proprietary. The company said in a release that it will "share a significant part of [Nao's] source code with the research and developer community by the end of 2011."
That mystery robot that we've been teased about for months now, originally rumored to be something developed by either Apple or Google, is in fact a project by a company called RoboDynamics. It's called Luna, it's a personal robot designed for people to use at home, it's fully programmable, and will start shipping later this year. As of right now, the embargo has been lifted and we're allowed to tell you more about Luna and how RoboDynamics, in Santa Monica, Calif., hopes that it'll revolutionize robotics in the same way that the PC revolutionized computing and the iPhone and Android are revolutionizing mobile electronics. Before we get to the overall concept, here's a rundown of Luna's hardware and software specs , which RoboDynamics says is subject to change:
The Geminoid family has gathered together for the first time. The ultrarealistic androids, each a copy of a real person, met on March 30 at Japan's ATR laboratory, near Kyoto. Attending were Geminoid F , Geminoid HI-1 , and Geminoid DK , as well as their respective originals: a twentysomething woman ( whose identity remains a secret ), Prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University, and Prof. Henrik Scharfe of Aalborg University, in Denmark [photo above].
I guess not being punched is just not good enough for some people, so an Australian structural engineer named Kris Tressider has built himself a robot to fight with. It may be powered by windshield wiper motors, but in no way stops it from flailing about in a threatening manner. See for yourself: The robot can be adjusted in innumerable different ways, and it's not just repeating the same motions over again: it randomly throws both jabs and hooks at different speeds and from slightly different directions. And there's also this:
Robokind Zeno, a small walking humanoid with an expressive face created by Hanson Robotics. People often ask me why I build humanlike robots. Why make robots that look and act like people?
If a robot can do it, maybe I can too
Romeo, shown here in a computer-generated rendering, is a French humanoid robot designed to assist elderly and disabled people. Image: Aldebaran Robotics France is set to join the select club of countries that have developed advanced adult-size humanoid robots . Paris-based Aldebaran Robotics , famed for its small humanoid robot Nao , is working with major French research organizations to build a larger and more capable humanoid called Romeo , to be unveiled next March.
Hitachi has recently shown a new version of its humanoid robot EMIEW2 (Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate2), which can scoot around on broken ground (the robot handles bumps that are up to 1.5cm high), recognize and distinguish between different human voices and converse with people. EMIEW2 still runs as fast as 6km/h, stands 80cm tall but he’s apparently gained a kilo in the past few months (he now weighs 14kg). And thanks to a new “adaptive suspension control” system, the robot can now move much smoother.
Last year, we reported that British researchers are using a Charles Babbage robot head to develop emotional machines. We wondered whether the Charles head was a Hanson Robotics creation. We now have the answer. "Yes, Charles is a Hanson Robotics creation," David Hanson , founder and CTO of the company, tells us. Hanson says they built the robot more than a year ago and he was pleased to see that the Cambridge researchers have put it to work. "I think they’re up to some good stuff," he says.