3 for Thursday: 3 Reasons Humanoid Robotics Is About To Get Freaky Real

It’s going to happen. Eventually you’ll bump into someone on the sidewalk, look up to apologize, and never see it. You just apologized to a robot and he or she was probably kind enough to apologize back (especially if you are in Canada).

Three things that always make robots feel fake are movements that are not exactly human, that odd or awkward face, and the clear limitations of artificial intelligence. That may all be changing. For this week’s 3 for Thursday, I’ve compiled three new advances in technology that take us much, much closer to humanoid robotics.

Bender isn’t going to be happy.

1) The tendon-controlled skeleton
Phys.org is reporting that the University of Zurich’s Artificial Intelligence Lab is about to deliver (in roughly 9 months) an advanced humanoid called “Roboy.” Pioneering research in “soft robotics,” this group has created a robotic skeleton that uses tendon technology. The final product delivers movements that are far more human.

2) Fewer creepy stares
Nothings freaks people out like the shallow affect of the psychopath. Not being able to get a read on a robot could be a serious problem for robot-human relationships, but that is about to change. Meet Diego, the creation of David Hanson for the Machine Perception Lab at UCSD Institute for Neural Computation. The facial movements are realistic because developers fed actual facial movements of children into the computer, rather than just telling it to move a lip up or down. Now you’ll know when your humanoid robot is plotting against you.

3) Brains that can do things
Researchers at the Human Brain Project believe they can build a complete, simulated human brain. The simulation is designed to model the brain for medical research, but we all know what happens after this; humanoid robots that think like us. The power and super-computer required to make this happen means that bringing it down to human size with our mere 75-watt capacity is still a bit in the future. But when it happens, there will already be a skeleton and skin ready to go.

And what will most people do with a complete and near perfect humanoid robot? If the proliferation of internet porn is any indicator, probably have sex with it.


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