By Paul KvintaPosted 09.06.2012 at 10:35 am 1 Comment
Simon the robot has just learned a new skill: transferring a red block from one hand into a coffee cup held by the other. But like an eager preschooler, he wants to know more. “Can I begin here?” he asks, lifting the block high. Simon has two arms, eight fingers, doe eyes, and a monotone voice. With each question and answer, he is doing what roboticist Andrea Thomaz calls “whittling away the hypothesis space,” or eliminating information that is not essential.
In Japan, robot-led weddings, robot factory workers and even squeaky robot pets are all fine and good. But in-home helper bots, which are the main goal of many robotics research projects, are anything but widespread, even in that robo-friendly country. Apparently old people and sick people, even in Japan, still prefer that human touch.
Will 2011 be the year we finally welcome robots into our lives? We're already well on our way, as the brilliant animators at Next Media Animation show us in this video. And their proof comes straight from the pages of PopSci.
Japan’s newest RoboCop-looking humanoid robot practices yoga, tracks faces and objects and, in what seems to be a robo-requirement these days, pours drinks.
The industrial HRP-4 robot was designed to coexist with people, and its “thin athlete” frame is meant to be more appealing, according to Kawada Industries, which built the robot with Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.