Einstein has returned from outer space, according to scientists, and he's taken on the form of the world's first android head with a humanoid body. The synthesis of the two distinct areas of an android robot and bi-ped humanoid robot is the first of its kind, and results in a creepy looking science genius.
The researchers, from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, explain that they used an astronaut's spacesuit in order to hide the inner mechanical devices, as well as give the humanoid both a scientific and robotic appearance. They call the prototype "Einstein's Return from Outer Space."
The project is a collaboration, with KAIST HUBO creating the body, and the Hanson Robotics team designing Einstein's head. The head system and body system are each controlled by a different PC, but they are connected with an RS232 connection. Also, the researchers used a laptop to wirelessly operate both PCs.
The combined robot is called "Albert HUBO," and has a total of 66 degrees of freedom (35 for the body, 31 for the head) to generate a wide range of motions. It can walk, shake hands, bow, and do sign language. Simultaneously, the robot exhibits the appropriate facial expressions, such as happiness, sadness, disgust, anger, and surprise, and can synchronize its lips with its words when it speaks.
To make Albert HUBO's face look so realistic, the Hanson team designed a new material called "frubber" (a combination of "flesh" and "rubber") - a sponge-like material that moves almost as easily as soft facial tissues. It also requires a lot less power than the artificial facial skin of other animatronics.
The researchers, who will publish the study in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, hope that the hybrid android-humanoid marks a step toward consumer androids, where the futuristic helping hands must be both physically skilled and possess a human-like appearance...but is there such a thing as too human-like?
Via: Robot World News