Making robots more like us

November 4, 2013
NaoBOT robot

NaoBOT humanoid robot (credit: Aldebaran Robotics)

Robots are beginning to move around in the world and perform tasks as humans do, The New York Times reports.

Many of the new generation of robots are tele-operated from a distance, but are increasingly doing tasks independent of direct human control. …

Today’s robot designers believe that their creations will become therapists, caregivers, guides and security guards, and will ultimately perform virtually any form of human labor.

The key to this advance is the new robots’ form. Roboticists say they are choosing the human form for both social and technical reasons. Robots that operate indoors, in particular, must be able to navigate a world full of handles, switches, levers and doors that have been designed for humans. …

Roboticists also point out that humans have an affinity for their own shape, easing transitions and making collaboration more natural. Creating robots in humanoid form also simplifies training and partnerships in the workplace, and increases their potential in new applications like caregiving. [...]