Popular Science has an excellent three page article on the development of Virginia Tech RoMeLa’s CHARLI bots, the state of robotics funding in America, and the different attitudes towards humanoid robots around the world. The version that appears on the cover of Pop Sci’s August issue is CHARLI-L, the one with lightweight legs. Here’s some choice quotes from the article:
“I think a full-size humanoid is the Holy Grail of robotics,” says Dr. Dennis Hong. “It’s a system of systems. It combines all the disciplines of robotics, from artificial intelligence to autonomous behavior to dynamics to controls to mechanical design—everything!”
“They represent incredible research and technology that’s then backed into an application” says Colin Angle, the CEO of iRobot. Roboticists working on humanoids, he says, “are doing amazing, exciting work, but it’s just not going to drive the robot industry—unless it’s for entertainment purposes.”
With robots like Asimo, Dr. David Hanson says, “Toyota and Honda have solved manual-dexterity tasks that used to be unsolvable. It’s just that they show them off in silly ways. They get him to play trumpet or the violin. But with that dexterity, imagine what you can assemble in a factory! These are massive breakthroughs.”
Besides some choice photos of CHARLI-L, the article also includes a decent image gallery of some of the world’s most famous humanoids, though sadly some favorites (the SONY QRIO and Toyota Partner Robots) didn’t make the cut. Hit the source link for the article!
[source: Popular Science]