Zurich AI team plans March delivery for humanoid Roboy (w/ Video)

Dec 31, 2012 by Nancy Owano report

(Phys.org)—The University of Zurich's Artificial Intelligence Lab is leading the way to the delivery of Roboy, an advanced humanoid, which has a due date for saying Hello World in March. Similar to the Japanese initiative of developing robots that can assist people in daily living, this robot is designed to emulate humans and help out in daily environments. Roboy is the work of engineers at the University of Zurich's Artificial Intelligence Lab, according to design principles developed by Prof. Dr. Rolf Pfeifer, who is the lab director, and assisted by other development partners.

The project has involved engineers and scientists. The team members and partners share a commitment toward continued research in "soft robotics." They would like to see Roboy become a blueprint for service robots working with humans, supporting elderly people, for example, to remain in independent living situations, similar to the initiatives of robot research in Japan that are focused on the needs of the aging there.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The 1.20m tall Roby bears a distinguishing feature of having a tendon-driven locomotion system, in that Roboy is built based on tendon-controlled . In attempting to closely replicate the functions of human , the team has been working on "radical artificial tendons" that can make Roboy move in a human fashion. A tendon is the flexible cord of strong fibrous collagen tissue attaching muscle to bone. Muscles move joints; when a muscle contracts, it pulls on a bone. The tendon structure transmits the force from muscle to the bone for joint movements.

The researchers in turn view Roboy in a bigger picture as a potential marker in . "A robotics platform is being created to investigate and further develop the principles of tendon-driven in robotics. Regardless of whether the service robots of the future resemble humans or not, the principles applied such as tendon-driven movement will be put to use," according to a Roboy press release.

Roboy will be unveiled at the Robots on Tour event in Zurich in March, along with documentation on its development. The Robots on Tour event carries an ambitious subtitle of "World Congress and Exhibition of Robots, Humanoids, Cyborgs and more." The event is being held on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the University of Zurich's AI Lab.

The robot is still in construction phase. The timeline for development has involved torso completion, leg development, CAD model of Roboy in its entirety, assembly, and Roboy learning to move.

As of mid-December, the team's press release said that Roboy "is getting a new face and can already move his arms." Later in the project Roboy will be covered with "soft skin" to make the robot more comfortable to the touch.

Supporting the race to introduce robot in March is the group's financing model. They are attempting to raise funds for producing the Roboy by selling logo space on its body, where names or company logos will be engraved onto the Roboy. In addition to partner support, the AI Lab is turning to crowd-funding.

Explore further: 'Humans' star William Hurt says AI sentience is 'inevitable'

Related Stories

Zeno "boy" robot: Let me introduce myself (w/ Video)

Aug 04, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Hanson Robotics is showing its new humanoid robot boy that belongs in its Robokind portfolio of robots, a 2012 reincarnation of its earlier cartoonlike Zeno boy but this time more humanoid with ...

Meka's robot head makes eyes at next-wave users (w/ video)

Oct 14, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- You've seen robots in the form of alpha dogs and insect swarms capable of military deployments but the next wave of robotics also includes a special breed of "sociable" robots for use in medicine, eldercare, and education. These are ...

Ping-pong robots debut in China (w/ video)

Oct 15, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Last week some oohs and ahhs were in order as two ping-pong playing robots made their debut at Zhejiang University in China. The two robots played against each other and with humans. True, ...

HRP-4C female robot has a new walk (w/ video)

Nov 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Japan's entertaining robot that sings and looks like a beautiful young female is finally learning how to walk just like a beautiful girl—well, almost. Robotics developers at the National ...

Recommended for you

Autonomous robot Myon joins the cast at a Berlin opera

Jul 02, 2015

"My Square Lady" last month opened in Berlin at the Komische Oper. The outstanding feature about this production is that a character named Myon plays a key role on stage, and Myon is a robot—of the white, ...

Autonomous Robird is one step closer

Jul 01, 2015

With the assistance of the European Space Agency ESA, robotics researchers at the University of Twente have taken an essential step toward the Robird's completely autonomous flight. This lifelike, robotic ...

Four reasons why the Terminator is already here

Jul 01, 2015

As Terminator: Genisys hits cinemas around the world, ScienceNetwork WA looks at some of the feats performed by robots in the Terminator films, and investigates how long until reality catches up with scienc ...

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2012
This is what I want. A semi large robot, fully programmable i.e. access to the source code, preferably open source.

The ability to modify hardware with relative ease such as attaching extra components like cameras, night-vision, infrared etc (possibly access hardware for upgrades such as CPU).

Then a community that develops code to make the machine more intelligent or other improvements such as a shared cloud based object recognition brain would be nice albeit slow.

And all this for a reasonable price.
5 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2012
I predict that the day they release an anatomically correct version sales will skyrocket and prices will plummet.

And in a more serious vein, I am absolutely looking forward to an open source version.
1 / 5 (1) Dec 31, 2012
If you are interested in humanoid robots, then watch the sci-fi TV series known as Real Humans (Äkta människor). It's from Sweden and is a brilliant insight into how robots may integrate into society, and how humans may abuse them as well!!!
Open source is not the way to go for robots working with humans. Too much opportunity for abuse.
1 / 5 (2) Jan 01, 2013
Linux on legs !
1 / 5 (1) Jan 01, 2013
Skynet's first born...
1 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2013
Whereas I think Roboy is still a primitive android hardware frame, it is primarily noteworthy because it will spur further advances in android engineering. It is predicted that in 5 years androids will be able to beat humans at soccer. If this seems unintuitive, remember that technology is advancing exponentially, not linearly. In a decade laptop computer will have the processing power of a human brain. The Singularity is coming. BTW, expect significant human intelligence augmentation (i.e. synthetic neocortex extenders), and AGI smarter than the average human in two decades. LOAR means the smarter humans and AI gets, the faster technology will accelerate.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.