Updated: May 14, 2019
Many often we refer to robots as a symbolic representation of our rapidly advancing technologies in the modern world. But did you know that they’ve been around longer than you might think? The first robots were immaculately crafted machines called automatons, which were self-operating machines and control mechanism designed to automatically follow a sequence of operations and instructions. Stemming from these early creations and drawing inspiration from a myriad of science fiction stories, today we have a cornucopia of robots that can accomplish an ever-growing number of tasks.
Here’s a list of some cool robots available today. Which is your favourite?
by Boston Dynamics
Image source: Boston Dynamics
The list would not be complete without one of Boston Dynamics’ robots. Boston Dynamics is an American company focusing on engineering and robotics design. They experiment and produce numerous robots particularly for the military, which can accomplish some mind-blowing things. One special robot developed by Boston Dynamics is Atlas, and is intended to aid emergency services during search or rescue operations, rather than in combat like wars. It is the most recent development of a humanoid robot that is well known for its ability to perform complicated tasks; e.g. run faster than a human, parkour, open doors etc. despite only being 1.5m and weighing 74kg. The 3D printing technology has allowed to reduce weight and space upon building of Atlas, which in turn led to an extremely compact robot with great strength and large workspace. With hydraulic actuation, LiDAR and Stereo Vision perception, Atlas can manipulate objects in any surrounding environment and maintain balance in any situation.
by Hanson Robotics
Billed as having the most human-like characteristics, this one is sure to impress. Sofia is the epitome of STEAM in action, where innovations in science, technology, engineering and maths have been combined with artistry to precisely resemble us. In fact, so similar that she was even granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia! Many consider the ability to think and make logical decisions as unique humane characteristics that distinguishes us from other higher-classed organisms. For that reason, it’s difficult to believe that a “piece of metal” could replicate such an intricate process and is why Sofia is well renowned for her Artificial Intelligence (AI). Reflecting the meaning of her name in Greek (wisdom), she was created to help people in medicine and education. However, controversies exist regarding ethics and concerns of human-like robots in our society. Therefore, Sofia serves an important role for research purposes in not only technological aspects, but also setting adequate boundaries for a harmonious, symbiotic relationship between robots and humans.
3. ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility)
ASIMO developed by the Japanese company Honda, has been among the top robots in the world for a while and is still considered one of the most versatile robots in the world. ASIMO is smaller in comparison to many others on this list, being only 130cm and 54kg. However, it was purposely designed to provide the perfect dimensions suitable for its main purpose: mobility assistant. Thus, it has the ability to recognise moving objects, postures, gestures in the surrounding environment, as well as sounds and faces that enable interaction with humans. This is all thanks to the camera eyes and sensors that enable autonomous navigation.
by Carnegie Mellon University
Image source: Carnegie Mellon University
What do you think of when you imagine a robot? Arms? Legs? Wheels? Well this one has none of those typical features but is still considered one of the most versatile, and effective robots invented today. Resembling a snake, it is not only able to move but also climb and swim in different environments. Whilst it appears relatively more simple in structure than other robots in this list, the multiple jointed sections increase the degree of motion and allow maximum flexibility. For this reason, application of this robot range greatly from transport to exploration, as well as rescue missions to surgical tool depending on the customised size and length.
5. MOLEY - Robot Kitchen
by Moley Robotics
Image source: Moley Robot Kitchen
This is an amazing artifically-intelligent Robot Kitchen, that prepares and cooks food. The best thing is that it even clean up afterwards. The Robot kitchen mimics the movements of a human hand and cooks anything a human chef can. Imagine having high quality meals prepared to you everyday when you get home from work or want to entertain a groups of friends.
6. Aibo the Robotic Dog
Image source: Sony
Whilst it is true that invention of robots initially commenced with heavy focus on utilitarian use (production or services), we cannot neglect the existence of cool entertainment robots! These types of robots are widely accessible and available for public, contrast to others on this list. An example is a digital pet, Aibo the robotic dog that replaces real-life domestic pets. It is able to replicate many actions that provide owners with realistic experiences of owning a dog. This can be a perfect alternative for those who would like company but have unfavourable circumstances (e.g. busy lifestyle or hair allergies). As such, entertainment robots are not deemed as essential, but definitely forms an important part of robot development in the modern world for increasing quality of life for many.
By. S. Jeong/ N,Welikala
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