Roboy, a tendon-driven robot modeled on human beings, had the help of over 40 engineers and scientists to help bring it to life. The robot is expected to be able to move almost as elegantly as a human.
Roboy will be a “service robot,” capable of executing services independently for the convenience of human beings.
Roboy is based on another, older anthropomorphic robot with a tendon system known as Ecce. Unlike Ecce, Roboy will be more comfortable looking to humans, as Ecce looked like a scary Cyclops robot.
“Soft robots” like Roboy are important because it makes them more appealing when interacting with humans, giving them the appearance that they are safer and more pleasant.
Service robots are already being used in a variety of areas, including household chores, surveillance work and cleaning. Eventually, these robots could be used to help out the aging population in the U.S.
“Our aging population is making it necessary to keep older people as autonomous as possible for as long as possible, which means caring for aged people is likely to be an important area for the deployment of service robots,” the researchers wrote on their website.
“We can very safely assume that service robots will become part of our environment in the future, as is already the case today for technologies such as smartphones and laptops,” the team continued.
Artificial Intelligence lab researchers set a goal to build Roboy in just 9 months. The robot will be unveiled during the Robots on Tour in 2013 in Zurich.
The team decided to finance the first grassroots robotics project through crowd-funding in order to make the robot’s quick turnaround possible.
“Financing the project through sponsorship and crowd funding enables us to implement an extremely ambitious project in an academic environment,” Professor Rolf Pfeifer, who is leading the project, said in a statement.
The researchers said that creating humanoid robots presents scientists with great challengers. The robots have to be quick, with smooth movements, but have flexible soft skin.
“Fundamental new findings are needed for this purpose. It is precisely through projects like Roboy that innovation is possible,” the researchers say.