Robots are one of the greatest innovations made by mankind. These are machines programmable by a computer which are capable of sorting out different problems and carrying a complex series of actions automatically. Although the inventions of robots were done for many centuries, the first digitally operated programmable robot was developed by George Devol in the year 1954, named as the Unimate. This robot has set a foundation for the modern robotic industry which has been able to develop humanoid robots.
Though robots vary in structure, shape, and functions, humanoid robots are the one which is preferred by most of the people and organization. In the present world, humanoid robots are being used in research and space exploration, for personal assistance, caregiving, education, and entertainment, manufacturing, and maintenance, for search and rescue, and to maintain health care along with public relations. Even in this Coronavirus pandemics, some of the countries like China have created Smart Field Hospital where robots are deployed to disinfect the area, measure temperature, deliver food and medicine, and with the purpose to entertain medical staff and patients.
The top 5 humanoid robots developed and in the process of advancement in 2020 are mentioned here.
1. Robotic Ambassador
Sophia has been one of the most recognizable faces of humanoids since her introduction in March 2016 by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics. She is the first robot to hold citizenship as she was given citizenship in Saudi Arabia, in 2017. She is considered as a media personality who has delivered a speech at the United Nations and appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show.
In 2020, the artificial Intelligence-powered about four years old robot, “Sophia” is going to perform a role as a robotic ambassador to contribute for advanced research into robotics and human-robot interactions. She is exceptional in the sense that she can animate various facial expressions, recognize faces, and make eye to eye contact holding natural conversations. Surprisingly, Sophia can show some emotions and can sing too. The coming days will decide how she will contribute to robotic technology as a robotic ambassador.
2. Robotic Avatar
Robotic Avatar, T-HR3 is a humanoid robot, initially introduced by Toyota in 2017, that mimics the movements of its operator (human) as in a real-world avatar. In such robots, the human shape is given such that they can use the same tools and environment as a human and even it’s easier to control robots in humanoid form. Recently, it has been updated for the Tokyo Olympics with improved controls and natural walk. It is developed with future perspectives that these humanoids will assist doctors in the future to perform surgeries. It can also help caregivers to perform work remotely and act as an assistant.
3. Delivery robot
In the month of January, there was an announcement that Ford became the first customer to incorporate Agility Robotics’ Digit into a factory setting. This robot was headless and has nimble limbs with its body packed with sensors. This humanoid can navigate various obstacles, including stairs and all kinds of terrains. It could walk upright and strong enough to pick up as well as could fold itself in a compact storage. With some input of advanced computation, Ford envisions that Digit will ride in a driverless car and deliver packages to the customer automating the whole process of delivery. Presently, the company will be testing how humans will be reacting when they get to meet this android and get their goods delivered.
4. Research Humanoid
At the Iranian University of Tehran, mechanical engineers have been working on Surena robots (research humanoids) since 2010. One of the latest models, Surena IV, an adult size humanoid, is capable of performing face and object recognition along with walking at a speed of 6.7 km per hour. This robot has been used to research bipedal locomotion and artificial intelligence. Such innovation also attracts students to the field of engineering and motivates for more research.
5. Robotic Bartender
Surprisingly, robots are being used as bartenders. Kime, the robot developed by Macco Robotics in Spain serves food and beverages. Kime looks like a human, with a human-like head and torso with two arms which are inside a kiosk. As the work performance of this robot was tested at Spanish brewery and gas stations in Europe, it is quite good at pouring beer which is about 300 glasses per hour. Robotic Bartender features just 14 to 20 degrees of freedom and can improve learning skills with sensors incorporated in it along with machine learning tools.
Besides these mentioned humanoid robots, there are several robots that have been invented and in the process of development which could be a great boon to the field of Science and Technology and the entire world. Some of the other humanoid robots are digital humanoids, robotic actors, collaborative humanoids, etc.