Here’s a new humanoid robot called Myon that is being built by the German industrial design firm Frackenpohl Poulheim for the Neurorobotics Research Laboratory at Berlin’s Humboldt University. Myon is one of five versions of the ALEAR (Artificial Language Evolution on Autonomous Robots) Project’s modular “M” series robots, which are being used to study cognition and language acquisition and formation between robotic agents. The 6 parts (head, torso, arms, and legs) are truly modular in that each one has its own power supply, processing power, and neural network that link up individually. This modularity also means that it can continue operating even if one or more of its parts fail.
Bayer Material Science’s polycarbonate material Makrolon is being used to form Myon’s protective exoskeleton. The robot has a built-in touchscreen on its chest. It stands 125cm (4′) tall, weighs 15kg (33 lbs), has 48 degrees of freedom, 35 torsional springs for biological movements, and 192 sensors. It was displayed at the DMY International Design Festival Berlin 2010.
Designed to appear friendly, Myon is approximately the same height as an eight year old child. One aspect of the design that doesn’t sit well with me is the cyclopsian eye, which doesn’t make much sense in light of its humanoid body. Having two eyes would not only make it more friendly looking and aesthetically pleasing, but would also give the robot stereoscopic vision which could be used for a variety of things including depth perception. I guess that isn’t as much of a concern when dealing with language, but I’m surprised it was overlooked. That said, Myon’s modular nature means a new head (and more natural hands) can be swapped in and out if they feel the need.
Frackenpohl Poulheim | Design Boom