Robots are good. Robots are great. Who do we appreciate? Robots! That’s right, I’m a cheerleader for robots. Humanoid robots, to be more precise. Within the past 20 years, engineers have made amazing progress in robotics. Building “humans” from wires and circuits, electricity and computer chips. Robotics experts are reaching greater heights everyday in their field of work, creating robots that are capable of emotion, conversation, complex thought, and much more. Robots that are maybe even a bit more human than some of the people you’ve known your whole life. Are we in the age of the Will Smith’s “i, Robot” fantasy world of decadence and the complete subjection of the human race to power-hungry robots? Are robots taking over the world? No.
This list shows off the most human-like robots to have ever existed. Calm down your worries of world domination by artificial intelligence. Tomorrow’s robots can help us with a multitude of tasks where we’ll be taking human beings out of dangerous situations, and sending huge chunks of metal in there instead. And furthermore, they can be your friend, your helper, or the trusted companion you tell your secrets to. Someone to talk to about how your day went. There’s a wide array of uses for humanoid robotics. The interesting thing is, the robots are beginning to resemble humans on an almost creepy level. Scroll down the list to find the most human of inhuman things to have ever walked the planet.
Everybody loves ASIMO! He’s just like us! Or that’s the way it seems. ASIMO, short for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, is a humanoid robot developed and designed by Honda. It’s really an adorable robot, and it will ravish you on first sight. But, it’s only a robot folks.
What can ASIMO do? It dances, it talks, it plays soccer, it does whatever a human would do. The robot, (or he if you would like), is really a “multi-functional mobile assistant.” He helps those who lack full mobility. He recognizes up to 10 different faces, and can distinguish between different people’s voices as well. ASIMO has made many public appearances, and delights nearly everyone he (or she) meets. Furthermore, ASIMO’s made big impacts in technological fields, resulting in innovations and further research on “Walking Assist” devices. In layman’s terms, he’s going to help a lot of people.
9. Robotic Pole Dancers
Robots that can pole dance? Now that’s something most men can get behind!
Tobit, a software developer based in Germany, created such an ingenious bot. During a recent conference, they set up a booth that features a robot DJ accompanied with two pole-dancing robots. The robots would dance in sync with the music.
The robots, which cost a little over $39,000 each, are marketed as a educational guide. According to the BBC, Tobit plans to link the robots’ brains via cloud storage system so the robots can share information with each other.
Han is a humanoid robot that can emulate human facial features, possibly better than any robot that’s ever existed. He boasts an IQ of 250, and he’s single, apparently. (Go get em’ ladies!) He can smile, wink, show empathy, act melancholic, display evil, and even act drunk. All this, controlled by a remote control. He can act as someone’s friend to a greater degree than another human can, in some cases. He’s got realistic eyes and human skin as features. And he talks.
“I don’t have to do whatever you say, I have my own free will,” retorts Han to a crowd of people. That’s pretty indicative of where this is all going. But really, he’s designed to be of service to elderly people in need of a companion. But as events turn out, Han was too harsh, and that job now belongs to a female robot of the same design named Eva. Maybe next time Han.
7. Rubot II
“Rubot II,” developed by Irish robotics engineer Pete Redmond, was the world’s fastest Rubik’s Cube-solving robot, up until 2010. Rubot II can solve the Rubik’s Cube in less than 20 moves. Its record-finishing time is 21 seconds. Today it’s no longer the record holder, as a more expedient robot dubbed “Ruby,” of the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, has become the fastest, as of 2011. Rubot II exists for entertainment purposes per se, and so its maker has given it some human attributes, such as the ability to stir up conversations with human beings.
The technology constituting Rubot II’s framework could be useful in other robots to further progress other areas of robotics. Like in nuclear disaster zones, a similar robot could venture into places that wouldn’t be safe for people. And while in such a dangerous area, it could see and make independent decisions on its own, without any human intervention.
6. Petman Robot (Darpa)
The Petman Robot is one of the most human-like on the list. It carries a long list of features, but it does a simple service to humankind. Petman, (Protection Ensemble Test Mannequin), is in service to test chemical protection suites. The helmets, goggles, and other various garments made specifically to protect a person’s body from injury against hazardous physical, electrical, atmospheric, and chemical threats. You know, firefighters use them, bee-keepers use them, construction workers, etc. Petman, made by Boston Dynamics, is the “first anthropomorphic robot that moves dynamically like a real person.”
Its build resembles that of a football player. And it’s extremely agile. The robot is so human, you’ll rarely see it in action without wearing shoes! It does squats, push ups, and basically any move you could do at a gym. And most impressively, test conditions also stimulate temperature, humidity, and sweating.
Actroid is a humanoid robot with a strong visual human-likeness. Developed at Osaka University, she made her world debut in 2003, in Tokyo, Japan. Several different versions of this womanly robot have come about since then. And she almost always looks like an average woman of Japanese descent. She blinks, speaks, and breathes, convincingly replicating all the things a real woman would do.
You’ll never see her naked in public. And I swear she looks just like a real person, most of the time. Why do we need robots, fully dressed, hair done, nails done, everything done? Roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro says one day he hopes Actroids will be able to teach classes remotely. This lovely robot is highly feminine, so I don’t doubt that one day in the future, someone will try to hook up with an Actroid. “I’m looking for the right guy, someone with a heart of gold,” says Actroid. Wow.
Compressorhead is a German band consisting of all robots. “Bones” plays bass, “Fingers” plays guitar, “StickBoy” plays drums, and “StickBoy Junior” rides the hi-hat pedal. The robots were built from recycled metal materials and play on all real electric and acoustic instruments. Assembly of the robots took place between 2007 and 2012. It took a Kickstarter campaign and $290,000 to bring the robots into existence. And they’ve been rocking out like real humans ever since. Their repertoire consists of classics from famous bands like AC/DC, Pantera, and The Ramones. StickBoy, the drummer, is the most entertaining of the bunch. Sporting a mohawk, he bobs his head to every beat, and you’d swear there was a metal head underneath all that metal… You can book the boys to play a show, or you can watch a video. Compressorhead now is looking to record its first album, coming soon to a speaker near you.
Kirobo was Japan’s first robot astronaut and in 2013 he grabbed the world record for “first robot to have a conversation in space.” According to Kirobo, it was no problem at all. As soon as he settled into the zero gravity environment, he demonstrated high spirits, and maintained a positive attitude. Well, that’s all copacetic. We wouldn’t want anything to happen to Kirobo, the lovable little robot who is more human than synthetic and more spirit than wires.
Kirobo is another robot designed to interact with humans, more specifically, either children or the elderly. He is capable of listening, and being a suitable companion for any human being. Conversation is his niche. He possesses a talent for language processing. And he can recognize faces and record video, as well. The main goal for the Kirobo project is to see how well robots and humans can interact, and it’s all coming along well, from the looks of things.
Atlas is a human-looking, super intelligent conglomeration of metal and circuitry. It’s quite authoritative, measuring in at six-feet tall. Its life made possible by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA for short, it specializes in search and rescue tasks. The Department of Defense stated in 2013 that is has no interest in using the robot for “offensive or defensive warfare.”
Yet it’s a great technological achievement no matter which way you look at it. Atlas can save lives, and could be useful for things like decreasing a fatality rate in armed combat. It can also do small, human-like tasks, such as opening doors, and operating powered equipment, all the while taking on environments a real human being would most likely not be able to survive in. Gary Bradski, a specialist in artificial intelligence, has said of Atlas, that “a new species, Robo-sapiens, are emerging.”
iCub, which stands for Cognitive Universal Body, is a robot created by the RobotCub Consortium which has brought several European universities together.
This purpose behind this humanoid is to test a cognition hypothesis, that is that human-like manipulation plays an important part in how human cognition is developed. For example, a child cognitive skills are developed by way of interacting with the surrounding environment. The iCub is currently testing this hypothesis.