Scientists say ‘robot boy’ can be built within nine months

By David Ferguson
Friday, December 28, 2012 10:15 EDT
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Roboy from roboy-dot-org official
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Robotics engineers say that they can build a humanoid robot “boy” that will help with everyday tasks within nine months. According to the Daily Mail, the childlike “Roboy” will have special artificial muscles and tendons, and is designed as a companion and helper for sick and elderly patients.

A team at the University of Zurich’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, headed by professor Rolf Pfeifer, has enlisted up 15 project partners and more than 40 engineers in the creation of what they hope will be the most advanced humanoid robot ever built.

Pfeifer said that the team hope Roboy will be a model for “service robots” that work alongside humans.

“Service robots are machines that are, to a certain extent, able to execute services independently for the convenience of human beings,” wrote the team on Roboy’s website, which is utilizing crowd sourcing to help fund the project.  ”Since they share their ‘living space’ with people, userfriendliness and safety are of great importance.”

One of the aspects of Roboy’s construction that make it unique is the use of flexible artificial tendons in the construction of joints and in the operation of its hands.  Previous robots have needed motors in each joint to move.  The stretchy tendon and muscle tissue, the team maintains, will make Roboy move as fluidly as a human being can move.

The team said that with an aging world population, helping the elderly maintain their autonomy is going to be a priority.  The robot helpers, they say, could assist people in the home and potentially call for help if the person falls or becomes sick or disoriented.

Pfeiffer said that crowd-sourcing the project will help meet the expense of such an ambitious project, but with the benefits and research opportunities of working in an academic environment.

Watch video about this story, embedded below:

[image via Roboy.org, official website]

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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