These are the questions we ask ourselves more often because humanoids are and will be increasingly present in our lives. With this article, we try to give simple answers to complex questions and to take stock of the humanoids already on sale and those that will be short. Let’s get into it!
What is a humanoid robot?
A humanoid robot is an intelligent machine whose structure reproduces the human body. Like us, these robots have a head, a torso, arms, hands, and often even legs but also visual and auditory organs. The humanoid robotics has the difficult goal of playing with these machines humans, our physical abilities, our cognitive processes, our ability to respond to environmental stimuli, and to adapt to the environment in which we find ourselves. Objective not easy, we said, because researchers know that reproducing in the laboratory the skills that nature has given us is not at all easy.
Why are humanoid robots made?
A humanoid robot, as we said, is the assisting or the attempt to assist a human being so that it is capable of activities similar to those we carry out every day. Thanks to humanoids, robotics promises to provide the answers to some social problems, especially related to older people. The robots for the elderly may, in the future, become a reality. The question at this point could be: but is it necessary to create robots that imitate human morphology? There are already different forms of them that adequately fulfill their tasks. On this blog, we talked, for example, about Relay, the butler robot already used in some hotels around the world.
There are a lot of reasons why it is thought that many robots will be humanoid in the future. First of all, because it will be easier for us to relate to machines that look like us and move exactly like us, the second is related to the fact that robots will "live" in environments created to be used by humans. Opening and closing a faucet will be more comfortable for a humanoid robot, as we have arms and hands just as it will be easier for him to climb a flight of stairs to reach the upper floor of our house, as he has legs like us.
What can a humanoid robot do, and what can it do for us?
We referred to taps, stairs, and houses. When one thinks of a humanoid robot, the connection with Andrew Martin, played by Robin Williams in the Bicentennial Man, is almost spontaneous. We also think about Caterina, the robot maid who starred together with Alberto Sordi in a film from the 80s. A humanoid robot in the coming years will likely find a place in our homes, among the domestic robots or for example, like a robot caregiver. But let us not delude ourselves.
To have sophisticated machines like Andrew and Caterina, it will still take a good few years. There are simple machines such as social robots, modeled on Jibo, Buddy, or Alpha 2, a small Chinese humanoid robot, which is candid about becoming the family robot par excellence. Or even Pepper robot, produced by Aldebaran Robotics and already sold in thousands of specimens in Japan.
What can these social robots do for us? But given the interest that they are receiving and the relatively low price, one must think that they will spread very quickly and quickly.
So far, we have talked about domestic use — only one of many possibilities. The educational robotics is another of the areas where it can be used even now as a humanoid robot. Nao is used in therapies against autism.
The robot humanoid Japanese and the Hiroshi Ishiguro have starred in the theatre. Atlas robot, the Google humanoid, could replace the man in the future in emergencies and as a robot rescuer. And there are also the humanoid robots that work for us in space, like Robonaut and Valkyrie. The humanoids will help us land on the red planet.
The robotics to college is a group effort. The groups are generally composed of 3-4 students working together, helped by the teacher or by the digital animator in achieving a result. And from one exercise to another, the difficulty and commitment gradually increase.
The use of robots in the classroom can find an infinite number of applications. The Students are hypnotized by the humanoid robot, and yet they are just learning.
Nao is not the only humanoid used in schools or colleges. Pepper robot, also produced by Aldebaran Robotics (which is now called Softbank Robotics after the merger with Softbank), is preparing to enter classes all over the world, having already done so in Japan.
Humanoid robots for sale, What and at what price?
With some exceptions, the humanoid robots for sale are still far from the machines we are used to seeing in movies. Some more sophisticated robotic platforms are approaching that model like iCub, the child robot of the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, and, among the Japanese robots, Asimo, one of the most advanced humanoid robots in the world, that Honda engineers are testing now for 30 years. They are machines worth several hundred thousand euros/dollars. They are available at more affordable prices in the consumer market.
The R1 robot was taken from the long experience on iCub, a humanoid robot designed to help families and work in rest homes, family houses, and health facilities. The goal of the Italian Institute of Technology was to create a robot capable of really giving a man a hand, at an affordable price.
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