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Robotics

Humanoid Robot HR-2 239

Posted by timothy
from the bip-bip-bip-bork-bork-bip dept.
Denix writes "The HR-2 humanoid robot was constructed during a period of three months at Chalmers University in Sweden. It has 22 degrees of freedom which enables it to easily move around imitating human motions. The robot is also equipped with stereovision giving it possibilities to perform hand-eye coordination. For that task an artificial neural network is evolved. Furthermore, the artificial brain is capable of tracking faces as well as recognising them. The HR-2 is also able to speak. The website also contains a movie (35.5 MB) of the HR-2 in action."
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Humanoid Robot HR-2

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  • Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MindNumbingOblivion (668443) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @12:58AM (#13110801)
    Now I know where to go to get my armies of mechanical death.

    ::CACKLE CACKLE LIGHTNING CACKLE BRRZZT COUGH COUGH::

    In seriousness, is there a reason for trying to build a bipedal, humanoid, robot? I mean, this looks cool and all, but what are the advantages (or conversely, disadvantages) to such a design (IANSC [I Am Not Susan Calvin])?

  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JanneM (7445) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @01:11AM (#13110869) Homepage
    In seriousness, is there a reason for trying to build a bipedal, humanoid, robot? I mean, this looks cool and all, but what are the advantages (or conversely, disadvantages) to such a design (IANSC [I Am Not Susan Calvin])?

    We have buit our entire environment for bipedal movement. Just ask anybody with a walker or wheelchair just how inconvenient (and, without help, occasionally impossible) it is to get around when you're no longer bipedal.

    Also, the question of just how we manage to walk, run, climb and so on is interesting in itself. And there's no better way to test ideas than to try them out in reality.

  • by Beolach (518512) <(beolach) (at) (juno.com)> on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @01:50AM (#13111059) Homepage Journal
    Isaac Asimov made several arguments in favor of humanoid robots over task-specific robots. Your "joke" is actually one of them, a humanoid robot would be more versatile, and capable of performing a wider variety of tasks, than a task-specific robot. In theory, a completely humanoid robot would be capable of doing everything a human can do.

    However, while that argument does have merit, by itself I don't think it's enough to mean that humanoid robots should be developed rather than task-specific robots. What I think is more important to consider is the cost to develop and produce humanoid robots versus task-specific robots. Asimov started writing about robots before computers really started taking off, and so the AI for his robots comes from a fictional device called a "positronic brain" (which, by the way, Star Trek borrowed for Data). In Asimov's stories, the positronic brain was the most expensive (and important) part of a robot, and so it was cheaper to install the positronic brain in a humanoid form, where it would be most versatile, than in a form specialized for one task. But that aspect of Asimov's stories may not accurately reflect reality. In reality, computers and software would be the source of a robots AI, and in reality it is much simpler (and therefore cheaper) to develop & produce computers and software that is specialized for one task.

    Which really, is what I find most impressive about this HR-2. In the video, they show it imitating human behavior, playing a game where the human holds a block and moves it up and down, and then the robot holds a block and moves it up and down. If the robot was simply programmed to move the block up and down, no big deal, that's not tough to do. But my impression is that it wasn't programmed to do that specific task, but rather it was programmed to be capable of analyzing what the human was doing, and then to imitate that. Which is very impressive to me.
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CurlyG (8268) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @02:25AM (#13111170)
    Robots have been used all over the place in industry for 20 or more years.

    Your statement that "Real progress will be made only after people stop trying to build a human from machine parts and focus more on usefull applications." is just silly. It's not like huge resources are being poured into making humanoid robots. (Nobody is trying to make a 'human from machine parts' - that's a very odd idea, and I suspect gives an insight into your objection to this sort of work.)

    I would also suggest to you that there are very few skateboards, bicycles and rollerblades that aren't designed for bipedal use! Just how do you propel yourself when you're cycling, skating or rollerblading?
  • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JanneM (7445) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @02:29AM (#13111184) Homepage
    Real progress will be made only after people stop trying to build a human from machine parts and focus more on usefull applications.

    Hard to build useful applications before you know how to make it walk safely, consistently and energy efficiently on at least a reasonable subset of human-constructed terrain types.

    I'm always astounded by all the backseat drivers of the world who always know so much better what people should do, without ever feeling the need to do it themselves. Since you want useful applications, go to it. Nothing is stopping you. If you're right that applications is the best focus, you'll undoubtedly eclipse these pitiful, wasteful efforts.

  • In.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by mbrewthx (693182) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @02:57AM (#13111261)
    North Korea only Old people use Humanoid Robots

    or was that Japan....
    Now we know how they steal old people's medicine those little bastards!!!! The giant robot comes in and scares the old people then the little one's take the medicine, which is to be used as fuel later for the larger robot. Thanks God for Sam Waterson!!!!!!!!
  • by HuguesT (84078) on Wednesday July 20, 2005 @04:05AM (#13111473)
    Please note that the Penrose-Hameroff hypothesis is at this stage only an hypothesis, and it most certainly does not explain what consciousness is or how to reproduce it. In fact no one knows if the brain performs quantum computations of any kind, or if such computations are required for consciousness. Some AI luminaries [mit.edu] think consciousness is in fact very simple, nothing more than memory.

    At this stage physicists are trying to build very simple quantum computers, which could be used for accelerating some very specific computations. Some other people [arxiv.org] have proven that even quantum computing would not be the panacea that many think it would be. For a start it doesn't give any new insight on how to perform specific calculations that would lead to consciousness. All computations possible on a QC would also be possible on a classical one, albeit usually much slower (but it wouldnt' matter that much, at least in theory).

    In other words the Penrose/Hameroff hypothesis doesn't really help in any significant way. It is just saying that the brain somehow performs some magic quantum thingy, and that thingy would somehow be the basis for consciousness. It doesn't say what this thingy is exactly, and most crucially doesn't say how to reproduce it in any way.

    the P/H hypothesis is basically just saying "we can't have true AI with the current batch of computers, something else is required", but doesn't say what.

    Needless to says this is not very helpful, and might be false entirely.

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