Boston Dynamics released a video of its humanoid robot Atlas on YouTube on January 18, 2023. The video has already surpassed 3 million views within a day, and the activities it performs within the video are truly wondrous. Atlas’s interaction with objects, climbing stairs, balancing loads carefully, and athletic capabilities show how the robotics industry has evolved from a concept of the lab to a practical one. It is true that most robotic models are in the prototype stage and are going through rigorous testing, but many have already entered the real world and are working alongside humans. Continue reading the blog to find out more about those robots.
AMECA: Developed by Engineered Arts, AMECA is one of the most advanced humanoid robots available on the market. The company claims it is more of a platform that was created to test and develop the upcoming robotics technology. Engineered Arts has used its own research and advanced Mesmer technology to build this humanoid robot. Software and physical upgrades could be easily done without changing the entire robot, as it comes with a modular architecture. AMECA has the ability to track movements in an entire room with its sensors and can also detect multiple voices and faces with its recognition abilities. The robot has the ability to interact with humans and is able to perform expressions and gestures like yawning, astonishment, smiling, shrugging, and surprise. An AMECA robot has even joined the staff of the Museum of the Future in Dubai.
ARMAR-6: The earlier versions of the ARMAR were used as home helpers who would have just loaded the dishwasher and cleaned the tables. The ARMAR-6 is a completely different robot that has the ability to perform functions with a hammer, drill, and other tools in an industrial environment. Under the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the ARMAR-6 has been developed and has a height of 7.8 feet and a weight of 150 kg. The robot can learn from observing human activities, help co-workers by passing tools, and even wipe down the floors. ARMAR-6 is made of 3-D printed parts and aluminum, and the 48 V battery can provide around 2 to 3 hours of operation. The robot comes with an RGB-D sensor, two stereo vision systems, two laser scanners, and a torque sensor, among many others, and uses Ubuntu 14.04 OS. ArmarX software for functioning.
BEOMNI: The BEOMNI humanoid robot by Beyond Imagination was shown to the public for the first time at CES 2022. Its chest display resembles the vest of Iron Man, and the robot can be controlled via a VR headset from anywhere in the world. The company believes that this robot on wheels can go beyond and above human expectations and can easily become a part of the healthcare, logistics, hospitality, and agriculture industries, among many others. The company believes that one day BEOMNI will be able to function autonomously, and the founder of Beyond Imagination aims to make the robots in such a manner that they will have the ability to handle future space work. Several news reports suggest that SELF Labs, a Web3 company, has tied up with BEOMNI and will receive 1000 robots over a period of 5 years, which they intend to use in agricultural grow boxes, which are further connected to “Cultivate Coins,” a simulated farming game.
DIGIT: DIGIT is the creation of Agility Robotics, whose purpose is not to mimic human beings but rather to work beside them. The robot has fully functioning, nimble limbs that have the ability to navigate complex environments and perform tasks like unloading trailers, making last-mile deliveries, and moving packages. DIGIT boasts several abilities like crouching, side-to-side walking, turning in place, and going up and down inclines, among many more. The height of the robot is around 5.1 ft, and it weighs 45 kg. With a maximum speed of 1.5 m/s and a battery capacity of 1,000 Wh, DIGIT can perform light work for 3 hours and heavy duty for 1.5 hours. DIGIT is made with carbon fiber composite components, thermoformed polycarbonate, and aluminum, and it uses LINUX-based real-time software for functioning.
NAO: Aldebaran’s first bipedal robotic creation is the NAO, which started its journey in 2006. The robot stands 1.9 ft tall and has evolved continuously since 2006, with the current version being the sixth. NAO runs on a fully programmable platform that has speech recognition and tracking abilities and can vocalize in 20 languages. With a weight of 5.5 kg and a speed of 0.3 km/h, the 27.6 Wh battery can operate for 90 minutes on a single charge. The sensors present in the NAO include two gyroscopes, two OmniVision cameras of 5 MP, four microphones, nine tactile sensors, a sonar rangefinder, and two infrared sensors, among many others. The software includes the Choregraphe suite as well as the Linux operating system for visualization and programming. NAO has 25 DOF (Degrees of Freedom) and is made up of carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic, polycarbonate-ABS plastic, and polyamide.
KIME: How would you like it if a robotic bartender served your drink? Would it not be interesting? Macco Robotics, a Spain-based company, has created a robotic kiosk that is app-enabled, has a built-in payment system and has the ability to serve 253 items per hour. Yes, it is true that it will not be able to make recommendations like a seasoned bartender, but it can pour a beer in 23 seconds. The robot measures around 3 feet and has two multifunctional arms with a torso and a head. The manufacturers have configured KIME in such a way that it can control temperature, the inclination of the glass, and pressure. By attaching the robot to a carrier, you can even use it to serve drinks to people at a party or an event. Prio, a Portugal-based fuel brand, has even introduced KIME in one of its gas stations to trial it out and try things differently, which is a great initiative.
NADINE: Modeled on Professor Nadia Thalman, NADINE is a humanoid social robot that seems almost lifelike and can be your great companion. With naturalistic skin, hands, and hair, NADINE has several capabilities, like making greetings and eye contact, and it even remembers the chat you had with it. Depending on the nature of the conversation you have with the humanoid, it shows emotions through gestures and can use several languages to answer your question. Developed by Nanyang Technological University, NADINE has 27 DOF (degrees of freedom) for its upper body movements and facial expression. The design architecture of NADINE is based on perception-decision-action, where the decision layer consists of memory and emotion models, the perception layer consists of a microphone and Microsoft Kinetic V2, and the action layer has lip synchronization and gaze generation. Nadine weighs around 35 kg and can become an effective part of assistive technology, which has the ability to read stories, send emails, and communicate via Skype sessions, among many others.
OCEANONE: The Stanford Robotics Lab has been able to create a humanoid robot that has the ability to explore the depths of the sea. With its built-in haptic feedback and AI, OCEANONE can perform tasks easily that were previously done by marine divers with a lot of effort and risk. OCEANONE can handle fragile and irregular structures and assemble them accordingly with ease due to its architectural design, which includes stereo vision capabilities and bimanual manipulation. The humanoid robot weighs below 200 kg and has a total of 24 degrees of freedom. OCEANONE is also equipped with 26 actuators and 4 thrusters, which help with underwater navigation. In a collaborative effort with DRASSM in 2016, OCEANONE embarked on its first adventure to explore the depths of the Mediterranean. It went to the ruins of the La Lune, a ship of King Louis XIV that sank in 1664, and was able to recover a vase and return it to the deck of the ship. Engineers and scientists believe that in the future, OCEANONE can take on more skilled and risky jobs and help massively with ocean exploration.
ROBONAUT 2: Though in pictures, outer space looks beautiful and mystical, in reality, it is quite a challenging place. Accidents frequently occur when astronauts step outside of their spacecraft for repair and maintenance. But if robots could have done this job, then it would have been very fruitful, right? ROBONAUT 2, a joint effort of NASA and General Motors, has been working alongside humans since 2011 in space. The robot at the moment is in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station (ISS) and can perform tasks like grasping objects, giving high fives to crew members after completing a job, and flipping switches. With a weight of 149.7 kg and a height of 3.3 ft, ROBONAUT 2 has the ability to pick up 9 kg of load. It is NASA’s desire that one-day Robonaut 2 would be able to perform telemedicine, and a version of it is already being taught in several practices in Houston.
WALKER X: Walker X, a UBTECH Robotics creation, is a service humanoid robot that can be of great assistance around the house. The bipedal robot has a height of 4.2 feet and a weight of 63 kg, and with its adaptive AI, it can blend into any complex environment. With its upgraded hand-eye coordination system, the robot can work with various home appliances like refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, and coffee machines, among many others. Walker X’s human and environmental perception is astounding and uses object recognition, deep learning, and facial recognition. The robot also boasts a modular design, 41 servo joints, and a human-like fast walking gait with a speed of 3 km/h, among many others.
There are many other robots and robotics companies that are working on varied prototypes other than the ones mentioned in the list. It goes without saying that the cost of making functional robots is quite high, but with the advancement of technology and growing demands for robots in various sectors, the robotics market is already showing growth.