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.
Robot Japan, a new competition aimed at small humanoid robots (though it seems some contestants played fast and loose with the “human” in “humanoid”) just held its first competition, known as Robot Japan Zero. There were two different weight classes for one-on-one robot fighting, and while that may sound awesome we were way more intrigued with the two-minute dance routine competition.
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.
One of our favorite dancing robots, Aldebaran Robotics’ Nao, is getting a big brother designed to act as a personal assistant. “Romeo,” a 4.5-foot-tall humanoid robot with a mildly amused expression, will be officially unveiled in March.
Japanese researcher Ryuma Niiyama's robot is quite literally making strides in the field of robotics. His running robot, named Athlete, can only make three to five steps before falling down, but the bipedal robot's gait is remarkably un-robotic, stemming from a musculoskeletal design that mimics human biology. With some further refinement, Niiyama may just create a robot sprinter that moves with agility and explosive speed of a human runner.
Meet DARwIn-OP, America’s newest humanoid robot, unveiled this week at IEEE’s Humanoids 2010 conference. He is 18 inches tall, weighs 6 pounds and is ready to be messed with. It’s OK, he’s an open-source bot.
Along with meeting heads of state and talking free trade, President Obama made some new friends at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit last week. Before entering a meeting in Japan, he met a Geminoid F robot and a group of yowling robotic seals.
As if being laid up in the hospital wasn't traumatic enough already, imagine having a humanoid robot coming to visit you and eerily mimicking your facial expressions - its pink-sleeved arms resting primly in its lap, its hair pinned back with a bobby pin (as if having hair in its face would bother it), its head movements just jerky enough to make a mockery of your pain.
After investing eight years and $1 million, Turkey has now joined the elite club of countries with humanoid robots, finally introducing SURALP to the public in Istanbul on Wednesday. Opting for the traditional acronym-nomenclature, SURALP stands for “Sabanci University Robot Research Laboratory Platform.”
Using breath-analysis software and mouth-movement observations, engineers in Japan have taught a robot how to sing. The divabot, an HRP-4 with a creepily realistic tilting head, blinks and opens her mouth as she croons, even mimicking the facial expressions of the human singer.
Researchers used a real singer as a model, recording her every move as she sang.