KIST recently demonstrated its humanoid robots Mahru-Z (the biped) and Mahru-M (a wheeled version) performing household tasks. Mahru-Z walked up to a microwave, pushed a button to open it, and took out a cup from inside of it. It then carried this and a piece of toast to a table and placed them inside of a basket (the cup was empty). Mahru-M then picked up the basket and delivered it to a person sitting at a table.
Mahru-Z took 2 years to develop, and is the latest generation in KIST’s line of humanoid robots, sporting shorter legs and new arms and end effectors (hands with 3 fingers each). It stands 130cm (4’3″) tall and weighs 55kg (121 lbs). The networked robots use high speed 3d object recognition when manipulating objects, and are being developed to one day help out around the home in a variety of tasks from food preparation to cleaning up the dishes afterward.
“The most distinctive strength of Mahru-Z is its visual ability to observe objects, recognise the tasks needed to be completed, and execute them,” said You Bum-Jae, head of the cognitive robot centre at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology. KIST spends about about $4 billion KRW ($3.8 million) every year on robot research.
In another demonstration of their motion-capture technology, a man in a special suit that detects muscle movements directed Mahru III to take a few steps forward. Far from operating in real-time, the system has been improved to now incorporate the lower-body (it was limited to the upper-body before). A video of the demonstrations follows after the break.