Meet these AI humanoid robots and get ready to be amazed!
Humanoid robots are common in sci-fi movies. If you are sci-fi fans, you must have seen many humanoid robots in different movies, such as Optimus Prime from Transformers and C-3PO from Star Wars. Optimus Prime, in particular, is a mighty robot that led the Autobots in fighting against the Decepticons.
This may go against what you think about humanoid robots, but technically speaking, a humanoid robot does not necessarily have to look like a “real” human. Instead, a robot can be labeled “humanoid” as long as it bears a resemblance to the human’s body structure (head, body, limbs). That’s why we call C-3PO a “humanoid” robot, even though it is undoubtedly a robot. Humanoid robots are built for a wide range of different purposes.
The robots we are meeting with here are professional service robots that perform tasks with human-like intelligence and movements.
Sophia must be at the top of the list when it comes to AI humanoid robots. Invented and activated by Hanson Robotics in February 2016, Sophia got its name out by participating in many high-profile events and interviews with celebrities. For instance, Sophia was invited to The Tonight Show and sang a duet with Jimmy Fallon in 2018.
Sophia has achieved many first times for humanoid robots, like being the first humanoid robot to receive a credit card and citizenship in Saudi Arabia. Being a social robot, Sophia is programmed to use artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to analyze speech patterns and mimic social behaviors. Its AI algorithm also makes it capable of expressing up to 62 facial expressions to interact with people more naturally.
Hanson Robotics announced plans to mass produce Sophia from the first half of 2021 to help the world combat the Covid-19 pandemic. While we haven’t seen Sophia surrounding us yet, the company has built another AI humanoid robot Grace.
As part of the pandemic measures, many countries and regions have been conducting constant community Covid-19 tests with their citizens. To reduce contact between health workers and the public during these tests, testing centers in mainland China (such as those in Beijing and Shenyang) have been using robotic arms to collect samples. That said, it is crucial to have follow-up medical treatment plans when dealing with the pandemic, like having enough health workers to take care of the patients, especially the elderly.
These circumstances inspired Hanson Robotics to create Grace, a healthcare robot specializing in geriatric healthcare (medical care for older adults). Grace has a thermal camera for taking patients’ temperatures and can diagnose patients with AI. Hanson Robotics plans to mass-produce a beta version of Grace and fully deploy it in 2022. Experts predict that social humanoid robots, like Grace, will bring positive impacts to society during the pandemic.
Like Grace, Pediatric Hal is another healthcare robot. It is an advanced pediatric patient simulator programmed by Gaumard Scientific (an industry-leading manufacturer and retailer of healthcare simulators). Dressed in a blue patient suit, Pediatric Hal is built to simulate actual pediatric patients and help health care students and professionals practice and improve their pediatric treatment skills.
Pediatric Hal contains many AI-backed features, ranging from realistic facial expressions and emotional states to a palpable pulse. Unlike Sophia and Grace, Pediatric Hal can only respond to questions with pre-recorded answers.
What makes Pediatric Hal an impressive patient simulator is that it can demonstrate different symptoms and body conditions, such as anaphylactic shocks and heart failures. This provides nursing students and healthcare practitioners with an immersive medical environment to practice their skills in pediatric care.
Humanoid robots are nothing new in sci-fi movies because they can be easily created using computer-generated imagery (CGI). But, filmmakers do not stop there. Bondit Capital Media, Happy Moon Productions and 10Ten Media decided to produce a US$70 million sci-fi movie titled b and cast Erica, an AI humanoid robot created by Japanese scientists Hiroshi Ishiguro and Kohei Ogawa, as the leading role.
While casting AI humanoid robots in movies may be an excellent idea during the pandemic because they are immune to the coronavirus, acting is not easy for Erica. Besides adjusting Erica’s movements and speech pace, Ishiguro and Ogawa “teach” Erica acting by applying method acting principles (where the actor tries to fully inhabit the role and feel the emotions of the character) to AI. Although the movie hasn’t been released, Erica’s parts were filmed in Japan in 2019 while the rest of b was expected to wrap up in Europe by June 2021. Keep yourself updated about the film so that you can watch the performance of the first AI humanoid robot starred movie on the big screen!
Suppose Sophia earned the title of “the most famous AI humanoid robot”, then Ameca would be the most realistic humanoid robot so far. Unveiled by Engineered Arts (a leading designer and manufacturer of humanoid entertainment robots) in December 2021, Ameca soon went viral on the internet and impressed people with its eerily ultra-lifelike facial expressions and movements.
Thanks to the robust AI system developed by the company, Ameca can quickly respond to people’s emotions by detecting and tracking people’s faces using the cameras in its “eyes”. In addition, Ameca can detect specific objects in its surroundings. In a demonstration of Ameca’s abilities, you can see that when someone touches Ameca’s nose, it instantly removes the person’s hands from its face.
A similar reaction also occurred when the Director of Operations of Engineered Arts, Morgan Roe, gradually moved his hand toward Ameca while explaining the AI used in engineering the robot in an interview with CNET. Its reactions are so lifelike that without the gray skin and metal body, we may even mistakenly recognize Ameca as an actual human.
Now you have met the top five AI humanoid robots that exist in the world. No matter how you feel towards them, they all point to the rapid pace at which AI is advancing. This technology will eventually become a part of our lives and will contribute to our society in different ways. We might even be able to connect with robots on social media and make AI friends in the future!
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