What I've noticed with this one is that they didn't try to give it a face - which I think tends to be a major failing with a lot of the humanoid robots. The "helmet" look prevents the "creep factor" of something that looks "almost" human.
Beth, It's interesting to me that the creep factor is a major consideration for you. Clearly there is a trend to mobile robots interacting more with human workers, from autonomous vehicles that are transporting materials in tire manufacturing plants, for example, to surgical assistants helping with organization and sterilization of instruments. In any of these applications where there is human interaction, I guess there is an adjustment to working with the robot. I guess it's the upper torso design that makes the difference in this case. It's interesting that GM sees the possibility long-term of service robots used in assembly areas, working in conjunction with human workers as a possibility.
We did a story with GM on this, and part of their motivation is to explore the possibilities of humanoid robots being used in assembly areas. That would require working closely with human workers which creates interesting issues related to safety and productivity. Interesting technology.
Talk about the stuff of nightmares ... but given the issues that Ann mentioned, an octopus design might have more applicability in terms of serving up more "hands on deck" for jobs that require dexterity when it comes to small motor skills.
jhankwitz, I can accept HAL in an R2D2 body. Your image of an autonomous octopus is the thing of nightmares.
Human interaction with automation is branching out in many interesting ways. Engadget.com (sorry for the reference to another technology site) has numerous articles about studies of ever-more-realistic human-form robots.
An octopus is absolutely a smarter, more efficient form factor. It may not be accepted by its users though.
I agree Beth, it is a shame that space exploration research has been curtailed. Not only did it generate new technology and bring people a level of enthusiasm and solidarity in past decades that little else could come close to - it also created invaluable spin off technologies that both improved life and stimulated the economy.
That is another important aspect of STEM, keeping space in front of our kids so that they still grow up with a sense of wonder that only the stars can bring about. We are frequent visitors to the McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis and brought our son on his 13th birthday for a special viewing that is only held a few times a year through the 109" telescope. I am guessing there were about thirty people in our group and our son was the only kid...
jhankwitz has an interesting point--how much do robots in space need to have human parts or features when gravity isn't an issue? I think part of the answer is that gravity is an issue in a space station, and that fingers or some such appendage for manipulating is needed, at least when Robonaut 2 needs to flip switches, or when surgical robots are being deployed to service or refuel satellites: http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=237609
I can understand configuring a new robot to look like a human only to the extent that it will be operating equipment designed to be operated by humans. Human shape and configuration evolved under the strong effect of gravity.
If we're building robots and other equipment for use in space, it may be far more practical to omit robot design features used to deal with gravity such as legs, feet, and toes for transport and arms, hands and fingers for manipulation. I would think robots should look more like an octipus that evolved in near weightlessness. Equipment and robots would best be designed to work with each other, eliminating the physical human factors.
It almost looks like they're trying to put HAL's brain into a modified R2D2 body. Heaven help us when it becomes self aware.
Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
Design News and Digi-Key presents: Creating & Testing Your First RTOS Application Using MQX, a crash course that will look at defining a project, selecting a target processor, blocking code, defining tasks, completing code, and debugging.
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