Thursday, September 17, 2009

Robot with bones moves like you do

We have long been used to the idea of the humanoid robot a robot with two legs, two arms, a torso, and a head, and with the proportions and outward appearance of a human. In the last decade we have also become used to the reality of the humanoid robot. Universities, research institutes, automobile and consumer electronics companies, and even toy manufacturers have surrounded us with demonstrations, prototypes, and commercial products, and we can see them walking on two legs, picking up small objects, and so on.

Click on images to enlarge

Some of the more volatile minds in our society have recently begun to fret about the possibility that humankind may become dependent on, and perhaps subservient to, the descendants of this first wave, and may even be replaced by them. We dont think theres any danger of that because, with a very few exceptions such as MITs COG project, the only resemblance these robots have to real humans is external and superficial: they look like us, but their operationalprinciples are so far removed from our own that there is little prospect that their incremental refinement will result in anything better than more of the same.

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