Androids Among Us - Our Top Ten Humanoid Robots

Friday, December 30, 2011

Join us in counting down the Top Ten Android Robots currently available.  No Hollywood tricks here - these are all the real thing.  Enjoy!

Developed at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), the humanoid robot Mahru can be controlled in real time by a human operator wearing a motion-capture system.MAHRU and AHRA are the first network-based humanoids in the world that are endowed with artificial intelligence through network. Unlike other famous humanoids such as ASIMO, MAHRU and AHRA focus on network-based intelligence by using network infrastructure where Korea has world-class strengths. Unfortunately, speed does not seem to be a strength of MAHRU robots.

9. Kawada Industries HRP 4

Styled like a Gundam, the HRP-4 is a blue-collar android tough enough to trudge through heavy rains, carry out disaster relief operations and work in environments hazardous to humans. The robot was unveiled in 2006 at Kawada Industries headquarters in Japan, where it showed of its ability to operate power tools and walk on slippery surfaces.

8. Hanson Robokind

Hanson Robokind robots feature the trademark David Hanson expressive capabilities that make the robots appropriate for many areas of research including psychology, and therapy.

7. Actroid-F

What you're looking at above is Actroid-F, Kokoro Co. Ltd. and ATR's latest iteration of the creepy humanoid robot that can mime the operator's facial expressions and head movements with unbelievable (but not quite human) accuracy.

6. iCub

iCub was created by the RobotCub Consortium, of several European universities.  The name is a partial acronym, cub standing for Cognitive Universal Body.

The motivation behind the strongly humanoid design is the embodied cognition hypothesis, that human-like manipulation plays a vital role in the development of human cognition. A baby learns many cognitive skills by interacting with its environment and other humans using its limbs and senses, and consequently its internal model of the world is largely determined by the form of the human body. The robot was designed to test this hypothesis by allowing cognitive learning scenarios to be acted out by an accurate reproduction of the perceptual system and articulation of a small child so that it could interact with the world in the same way that such a child does.

5. TELESAR V Telexistence Robot

TELESAR V is a telexistence robot system, being researched by a group at Keio University led by Professor Tachi. Telexistence is a concept first advocated by Professor Tachi in the 1980s. The aim of this technology is to free people from time and space constraints, by using remotely operated robots to interact with the remote environment.

The operator uses a 3D head mounted display which covers the entire field of view, to see exactly what the robot can see. The sense of touch, recorded using force vectors and temperature data obtained by the robot's sensors, is also transmitted to the operator allowing them to feel the shape and temperature of objects. Currently, the robot can recognize surface unevenness as fine as that on Lego blocks.

4. Aldebaran Robotics NAO

NAO by Aldebaran Robotics packs a lot into a little package. In 2011 the company released its latest version of the NAO robot — NAO Next Gen. The power of NAO Next Gen, the new fully programmable humanoid robot that has the most extensive worldwide use, is opening up new perspectives and fields of application for its users.

3. Meka Robotics S2

Meka Robotics have some of the smoothest motion available, combined with a very expressive housing.  The robots are compliant too - making them safe to work with, unlike a traditional industrial robot.  Meka sells robotic modules, with the S2 being the head section only.

2. Boston Dynamics PETMAN

When you first see PETMAN, you probably ask yourself if you are watching a James Cameron movie, or the real thing.  The motion and robustness of PETMAN  set it apart from many of the androids on our list. Watch it walk and do push-ups below.


He may be the granddady on the list, but ASIMO by Honda still seems to be the most capable and adaptable humanoid robot available. Development continues on ASIMO, as was demonstrated in November.