A robot that looks human is actually a humanoid robot having a shape similar to the human body. The structure may have been conceived for certain functions, say for experimental purposes like the study of bipedal locomotion or for interacting with human environments and tools or maybe for other purposes too.
These robots usually have a head, two legs, a torso, and two arms though some of these robots have only part of the body like from the waist up. The heads of humanoid robots are designed to replicate the human facial characters like the mouths and the eyes. Androids are special kinds of humanoids made aesthetically to resemble humans. The latest versions can walk, talk, and express a huge range of emotions just like us. Some can hold conversations while others can remember the last interaction you had with them.
What Are The Functions Of Humanoids?
The humanoids are being used in many different ways like:
Humanoid robots are being used as research tools in various scientific arenas. Researchers study the body structure and behavior (biomechanics) of humans to build the humanoids. This attempt to exactly copy the human body helps them in better understanding.
Human cognition deals with how we learn from sensory information so as to acquire motor and perceptual skills. With this knowledge, computational models of human behavior have been developed and it has advanced with time.
Humanoid research had been started with the aim of building better prosthesis and orthosis for humans. Knowledge has been transferred between the two disciplines. The examples include ankle-foot orthosis, biological realistic forearm and leg prosthesis, powered leg prosthesis for neuromuscularly impaired.
Perform Human Tasks
Humanoids are being developed to perform human tasks like personal assistance to help the elderly, children, and sick with their daily tasks or interactions and do dangerous or dirty jobs. These robots can also be used for certain procedure-based works like automotive manufacturing line workers and reception-desk administrators. As the humanoid robots are able to operate vehicles and equipment and use tools meant for us, theoretically they can do any work that a human can provide they have the required software. But it isn’t very simple!
Humanoids are being used for entertainment. Ursula is one such popular female robot who plays music, sings, speaks, and dances to her audiences at the Universal Studios. Various shows in Disney theme park uses animatronic robots that move, look, and even speak like humans. Though humanoids appear realistic, they do not have cognition or physical autonomy.
Space Exploration Missions
Humanoids especially those equipped with artificial intelligence algorithms may be used in the future for distant and/or dangerous space exploration missions. This will reduce the compulsion of returning back to Earth on completion of the mission.
How About Meeting Some Robots That Look Human?
This android can look like anyone you want.It is actually an android clone. The built-in artificial intelligence (AI) of this robot can use more than 100,000 speech modules and exhibit 600 different facial expressions. It can do works like giving answers to questions in museums, shopping centers, and office reception. They can work for an entire day as they do not require recharging for eight hours.
It is able to handle business processes with a human appearance. Many Robo-C’s are working in 35 countries in the capacities of consultants, administrators, and concierges.
This humanoid robot is able to engage in a conversation and also picking out important phrases to inquire and respond. They act and look very human and this is making them popular.
This news-reading android was put together by the Japanese scientists by 2014. It read a segment regarding an FBI raid and an earthquake on live television. She can now be found in Tokyo’s National Museum of Emerging Science and innovation actively helping the visitors and collecting data for future studies regarding interactions between humans and humanoids.
4) Geminoid DK
Geminoid DK is the super-realistic humanoid which was a creative collaboration between Osaka University and a private Japanese firm under the guidance of Hiroshi Ishiguro.
This humanoid has been modeled after a Danish professor, Henrik Scharfe at Aalborg University and works around the philosophical study of what separates true from false knowledge. Not only has the overall appearance been copied, the traits and behaviors of the Danish professor have also been incorporated in the robot.
5) Nadine – the social robot
Nadine was created by the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. She is able to chat with humans on any and every topic. She is also able to remember what you had talked about the last time you met her. She can easily become a personal companion for children, the elderly, or those needing special assistance in the form of human contact.
This humanoid is a sentient robotthat came into the market in 2010 by the Terasem Movement under the supervision of author and entrepreneur Martine Rothblatt. This robot was made to look like Rothblatt’s wife, Bina Aspen Rothblatt and the robotic researcher and designer, in this case, was David Hanson.
This humanoid gave an interview with the New York Times which came in the National Geographic. She has traveled around the world and appeared on many TV shows.
7) Junko Chihira
This super-realistic android created by Toshiba works in a tourist information center in Tokyo full-time. She greets customers, informs visitors regarding current events, and can speak Chinese, German, Japanese, English, and even sign language. Japan had created this android keeping the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in mind where they were to use such robotic assistants to help the huge inflow of visitors from across the globe.
8) Sophia – a latest social robot
This is the most recent and prominent humanoid. She was made by Hanson Robotics, designed by David Hanson, and shows the greatest and latest effort to triumph over the uncanny valley. She has been modeled partly after Audrey Hepburn and Hanson’s wife. She emotes a huge number of different emotions by her gestures with full-sized hands and arms and facial gestures. Her face is covered by a flexible rubber skin. She can simulate the major muscles in a human face and consequently is able to express grief, joy, and frustration. Her face appears to be supple, soft, and realistic with the aid of material technology.
Sophia has deep learning algorithms that enable her to vary her expression according to the emotional state. The knowledge of neurobiology and biology of human expression has been put into the AI of Sophia by its developers. She is able to inspire feelings of compassion and love in humans.
Sophia has appeared on the cover of ELLE magazine, for TV interviews and parodied on HBO. She was appointed the first non-human “innovation champion” of the UN. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has conferred citizenship to her in a ceremony promoting a tech conference. When conversing with journalists, she moves through prewritten trees of responses like a chatbot.
But some AI researchers have questioned and criticized her capabilities and stardom. In response, her creators have said that her expressiveness itself is a great achievement. She can read a person’s emotion from the latter’s facial expression and tone and react accordingly. Sophia is also able to mirror the postures of people.
At times, it becomes difficult to believe that she is a robot. Sophia is definitely unique – though she is not human, you feel a connection once you meet her.