The top advanced humanoid robots in the world features the human brain’s underlying mechanism to deal with real world.
Robots that look like humans can walk, talk and even appear to show emotions. Meet the most human-like robots that have come creepily close to crossing the uncanny valley.
Intro: The era of innovation and technology saw an increase in the number of companies developing human-like robots that work like actual humans in the hospitality and customer service sectors. These Advanced Humanoid Robots or Android are machines designed to perform human tasks like interacting, talking, walking, and more.
Humanoid Robots have the greatest potential to become a future industrial tool by playing an important role in robotics research and many other 21st-century applications. With AI advancements in Robotics, these humanoid robots are subjected to improvement in various aspects to completely resemble humans. Designed to resemble the human body, they could be also for functional purposes. The various applications of humanoid robots are in Education and entertainment, personal assistance, manufacturing and maintenance, search and rescue, healthcare, and more. In recent news, Asimo by Honda was dubbed the world’s most advanced robot, and Sophia by Hanson Robotics was the most intelligent robot.
Robots that look like humans have long been a science fiction staple. As a storytelling device, it’s easy to grasp their appeal. Whether it’s the replicants from Ridley Scott’s cyberpunk thriller Blade Runner or the expressive android Ava in Ex Machina, these lifelike constructs allow us to explore questions about gender, technology and what it means to be human.
For nearly a century — and arguably before — roboticists have been working to make that fiction a reality. And there’s no shortage of research into why human-like robots freak us out. (Spoiler: It may be because they make us feel less human ourselves.) But they still have the potential to benefit us; scientists have repeatedly shown that humanoid robots can help children with autism spectrum disorders build social skills, according to a 2022 study in the journal Children.
While they haven’t bridged the uncanny valley just yet, scientists and engineers are still working to create automatons that are indistinguishable from their organic counterparts. Here are four humanoid robots that almost seem human. (Almost.)
When Engineered Arts, a U.K.-based designer of humanoid robots, released a YouTube video of one of its creations in late 2021, the automaton’s eerily-lifelike behavior went viral. The robot, dubbed Ameca, is shown moving through a dynamic series of facial expressions — from confusion at being “woken up” to a flash of frustration and then awe as it examines its own hands, eyes wide and mouth agape. At the end of the video, it smiles and outstretches its hand towards the viewer.
Creepy stuff, right? Well, according to Ameca, you have nothing to fear. In a follow-up video posted in 2022, it tries to squelch any concerns of a robot rebellion. “There’s no need to worry,” Ameca says in a conversation with its developers. “Robots will never take over the world. We’re here to help and serve humans, not replace them.”
In the video’s description, the engineers explain that Ameca’s responses aren’t the result of anything sinister; the effect was achieved by combining automated speech recognition with a large language model called GPT 3. “Nothing in this video is pre-scripted,” they write. “The model is given a basic prompt describing Ameca, giving the robot a description of [its] self.”
The critiques aren’t without merit. David Hanson, founder and CEO of Hanson Robotics, got his start as a Walt Disney imagineer, tasked with crafting sculptures and robotic technologies for theme parks. (You could even think of Sophia as an unsettlingly-realistic animatronic.) And while Hanson didn’t hesitate to agree with Jimmy Fallon that Sophia was “basically alive” in 2017, experts who reviewed the bot’s open-source code for Quartz said it’s more akin to a “chatbot with a face.”
It’s the robot’s more mundane skills — like gripping an object — that may make it particularly useful to humans, though. In January 2023, Boston Dynamics released a new video showing Atlas grabbing a tool bag and maneuvering up a multi-story scaffold before tossing it up to a human worker at the top. Such complex feats could someday help workers at construction sites or factories.
Still, it’s not hard to imagine a more dystopian application of Atlas’s abilities. In 2020, the New York City Police Department began leasing a quadruped robot dog from Boston Dynamics (dubbed Digidog by the officers) to be deployed in dangerous situations. Although it was used in just a few cases, including a hostage crisis and an incident in a public housing building, Digidog was pulled from action the following year after a fierce public backlash.
With a name ripped straight from Norse mythology and weighing a whopping 300 pounds, Valkyrie is an impressive sight. This NASA robot was built by engineers to compete in the 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge. And the 6-foot bipedal bot looks perfectly suited for a mission to Mars. Valkyrie’s sleek visor houses a complex suite of visual sensors, while the machine’s human-like hands allow it to complete tasks like turning a valve — and it’s battery powered.
Ironically, Valkyrie will never clamber aboard a space shuttle or set foot on the Red Planet. (It’s currently tethered to the ceiling inside a warehouse in Lowell, Massachusetts.) Nonetheless, it represents a key step in developing lifelike, real-life robots that may someday soar through the cosmos alongside astronauts. In 2022, NASA partnered with robotics manufacturer Apptronik to boost the Austin-based company’s development of its latest human-like robot, Apollo.
“The robots we’ve all dreamed about are now here and ready to get out into the world,” said Jeff Cardenas, CEO and co-founder of Apptronik, in a press release. “These robots will first become tools for us here on Earth, and will ultimately help us move beyond and explore the stars.”
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