Atlas, a humanoid robot from Boston Dynamics based on its Atlas robot platform, has seven degrees of freedom in each arm, six degrees of freedom in each leg, and a sensor head with stereo vision and laser radar. It is being designed specifically for meeting the demands of the challenge. (Source: Boston Dynamics)
I completely agree with you about human-like robots not being necessary for working in human-design spaces. I also think that goes for how human-like they must be in looks or operation: Some people like that similarity to humans, but some, like me, not only don't need it but find the uncanny valley effect horrific. OTOH, a lot of work has been done to help robots and humans communicate better so they can work together safely and productively. One of those things is designing robot hands to work more like ours for a number of reasons: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=260644
It's true that clear communication and comprehension are important. Acronyms and colloquialisms can be confusing.
Back to the robots...I don't agree that robots' "perceptions and movements should be as human as possible" in order to work in a space designed for humans. Observing a cat or dog in a new space demonstrates that non-humans can navigate spaces created for humans as well as, or better than, people.
I find that using clear, widely-understood meanings for terms makes written, non-duplex communication much easier (spoken, full-duplex communication, like in a phone or F2F conversation, is of course usually a lot clearer since multiple, instant iterations are possible when needed). I also find that precision and accuracy are important in all communications.
Nadine, thanks for the comment. I interpreted, "At the end of the day, all robots are bio-mimics. Humans included." to mean what its grammar says, which is that humans are bio-mimics. It's hard to interpret that in some other way. In any case, I do agree about more precise writing and close reading.
Nadine, yes I was responding to your comment. I agree that biomimicry doesn't exclude humans: that seems obvious. I've studied biomimicry in robotics, and saying all robots are biomimics isn't accurate in that area, although it may be elsewhere. But it's such a general statement that I don't see its usefulness from robotics engineering standpoint. And saying humans are biomimics doesn't make sense to me at all, since we are biological systems. In any case, my comments specifically about biomimicry in robotics stand.
Biomimicry in robotics, at least, doesn't mean generally resembling; it means something very specific. It refers to studying particular biological systems to see how they work, and translating their neurological, muscular, skeletal, etc systems--structures and/or functions-- into mechanical and/or electronic analogs. This is much more recent than the fundamental research type of approach that goes more like: what would happen if we made a robot with three legs vs six and used XYZ actuation types. Boston Dynamics, for example, was one of the very early pioneers in patterning robots after specific animals.
I suppose in looking at the report again, Ann, I misspoke in my comment. But it's interesting to see the struggles Japan had using these type of robots and hopefully this can inform future design and development. The DARPA work certainly should go a long way to improving the technology as well.