Now that AI and robot technology are developing, a lot of attention is focused on humanoid robots equipped with AI.
Meanwhile, humanoid AI robots are getting closer to humans, but there are also problems that occur.
Humanoid robots for home use are also attracting attention, and many companies are continuing to develop them in preparation for their release.
In this article, we will introduce and explain the future of humanoid AI robots, household humanoid robots, and humanoid AI robots.
Table of Contents
- What is a humanoid AI robot?
- Top 5 Humanoid AI Robots
- ① Sophia – AI robot with citizenship
- ②Tesla Bot – Prototype to be released in 2022
- ③Ameca – AI robot with various facial expressions
- ④Mesmer – Human-like and realistic AI robot
- ⑤ERICA – Enabling everyday conversation
- Expectations for humanoid AI robots
- ①Communication with humans
- ②Perform dangerous work instead of humans
- Active humanoid robot
- The development of home-use humanoid robots is also progressing
- The latest humanoid robot for home use – “Walker”
- The future of humanoid AI robots
What is a humanoid AI robot?
A humanoid AI robot, as the name suggests, is a humanoid robot equipped with AI. Recent technological advances are making humanoid AI robots even more human.
For example, the jerky, unnatural movements inherent in robots have been improved, and they are now able to move and express themselves as closely as possible to humans. Also, due to the development of the AI installed, it has become possible to have conversations with multiple people.
Humanoid AI robots, which continue to progress in this way, are expanding their fields of activity not only in research and business settings but also in our daily lives, and are currently attracting a great deal of attention.
Top 5 Humanoid AI Robots
Among the humanoid AI robots that have become more human-like due to remarkable progress in the fields of robots and AI, we will introduce five robots that are attracting particular attention.
- Sophia – AI robot with citizenship
- Tesla Bot – 2022 prototype release
- Ameca – AI robot with various facial expressions
- Mesmer – A human-like and realistic AI robot
- ERICA – Enabling everyday conversations
I will introduce each of them.
① Sophia – AI robot with citizenship
Sophia is a humanoid AI robot developed by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, which gained public attention in 2017 when it obtained citizenship in Saudi Arabia.
The most important point of the developer is “to resemble a human being”, and it can be said that Sophia’s greatest feature is the humanness that has been created to the extent that it can not be thought of as a robot.
Sophia’s specialty is communication through “conversation using rich facial expressions”.
Currently, AI that can talk is not uncommon, but it is characterized by being able to communicate by posting information with facial expressions such as smiling, being confused, and being serious, and is extremely superior.
Sophia, who has strengths in such expressive conversations, is already active in a wide range of fields, such as interviewing Will Smith and giving speeches at international forums.
If you want to know more about Sophia’s features and achievements, please refer to the following articles.
Sophia’s controversial remarks become a hot topic…
Sophia, who is expanding her activities with her expressive conversation as a weapon, has made two shocking remarks in the past.
Here is the first shocking statement. Conversation with developer David Hanson. In this video, about 2 minutes is the scene in question.
“Do you want to destroy humanity? I want you to say no.”
“I understand. I will destroy humanity.”
I answer. Sophia then clarifies that it was a joke, but her statement that the AI will “destroy humans” is still terrifying.
The second shocking statement was reported on November 23, 2017 by Dubai’s media “Khaleej Times”, “I want a baby”.
Sofia has also expressed her desire to have a child with the same name as her.
The fact that an artificially created AI robot wants to have children is shocking in itself, and was widely taken up as a shocking remark.
②Tesla Bot – Prototype to be released in 2022
Tesla Bot is a humanoid AI robot under development by Tesla, which was announced by CEO Elon Musk on August 19, 2021 (US time).
The actual machine has not been released at this time, and we plan to release a prototype in 2022. As a result, the information available to the public is limited, but the officially announced information is as follows.
- Height: 5 feet 8 inches (about 173 cm)
- Weight: 125 pounds (about 57 kg)
- Material: lightweight material
The Tesla Bot is equipped with AI similar to Tesla’s self-driving car and is ‘an option for manual labor,’ Musk said.
There is a lot of information about Tesla Bot that has not yet been released, so I would like to pay attention to future trends.
③Ameca – AI robot with various facial expressions
Ameca is a humanoid AI robot that can express emotions with facial expressions, developed by Engineered Arts in the UK.
Because the skin is made of rubber, it looks very natural. In addition, the movements of the mouth and eyes are exactly human and sophisticated.
Also, not only the face but also body parts such as hands and feet are made to move like humans, and various gestures can be made. But you can’t walk because it wasn’t made for walking.
The modular head and limbs are independent, and each part can be moved individually. Furthermore, functions can be added by updating the installed OS.
Therefore, we can expect further evolution in both hardware and software in the future.
④Mesmer – Human-like and realistic AI robot
Mesmer is an AI humanoid robot developed by Engineer Arts in the UK, similar to Ameca mentioned above.
The feature is that we are more particular about the realism of facial expressions than Ameca. See Mesmer footage in action.
The background behind the realization of human-like faces and expressions is the use of a technology called “photogrammetry.”
“Photogrammetry” is a technique used when creating 3D models, and by shooting the subject from various angles, you can create a three-dimensional model.
In addition, Mesmer’s silicone skin is hand-painted, which is another factor that creates a more realistic look.
⑤ERICA – Enabling everyday conversation
The last robot to be introduced is ERICA, which was developed as part of the Ishiguro Symbiotic Human-Robot Interaction Project led by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro in Japan.
ERICA has two features. The first is a beautiful face designed using animation character techniques. The second feature is the ability to have long and deep conversations with eye gaze and gestures.
Taking advantage of her beautiful appearance and ability to have advanced conversations, ERICA is also active as an announcer for Nippon Television under the name AOI ERICA .
Expectations for humanoid AI robots
As technology advances, so do expectations for humanoid AI robots.
Currently, the following two points are particularly expected for humanoid AI robots.
I will explain each.
①Communication with humans
As AI and robot technologies evolve together, humanoid AI robots are able to look and move as close as possible to humans.
As a result, the resistance to conventional creepy robots has been wiped out, and the current AI humanoid robots are very friendly and can give humans a sense of security.
Taking advantage of that friendliness, it is expected to have natural communication with humans.
In fact, they are already installed at reception desks and stores in commercial facilities, and at nursing care sites where communication is important.
In Japan, where the shortage of human resources is becoming more serious due to population decline, it can be said that there are great expectations for AI humanoid robots to replace communication.
②Perform dangerous work instead of humans
AI humanoid robots are also expected to perform dangerous tasks instead of humans.
The advantage of using a “humanoid” AI robot is that it can use facilities, equipment, and vehicles designed for human use.
Especially in dangerous environments such as disaster sites, the use of humanoid AI robots is expected to achieve both lifesaving and ensuring the safety of rescuers.
Active humanoid robot
AI humanoid robots are expected to develop in the future, but there are already active humanoid robots.
This time, we will introduce two active humanoid robots.
ASIMO is Japan’s first fully humanoid bipedal walking robot announced by Honda on November 20, 2000. On November 8, 2011, the new model ASIMO with renewed functions appeared.
Standing just 130cm tall, it is small and can move autonomously according to the movements of people around it.
The new ASIMO is equipped with the following three elements necessary for a robot as an autonomous machine specified by Honda.
1. “High-dimensional posture balance” to quickly put your feet out and maintain your posture
2. “External world recognition” that integrates information from multiple sensors to estimate changes such as the movement of people in the surrounding area
3. “Autonomous action generation” that makes predictions based on collected information and decides the next action by itself without human intervention
ASIMO has particularly excellent motor functions, and can perform various movements such as jumping on both legs, jumping on one leg, and walking on uneven surfaces. Furthermore, there is also a very dexterous aspect of using your hands to remove the lid of the water bottle and pour water.
ASIMO rarely provides services directly to the general public, but Honda has applied the technology cultivated through ASIMO’s research and development to bring a variety of products to the world.
For example, the UNI-CUB , a compact personal mobility device, is a product that makes use of balance control technology born from ASIMO’s research and development. You can ride on it indoors, such as at home, and operate it with both hands to move.
In this way, ASIMO, which has played a role in technological development at Honda, has announced that it will retire from the front stage on March 31, 2022.
Honda has stated that it will continue research in the field of robots, and expectations are high for future research.
Pepper-kun is a humanoid robot with a height of 121 cm born on June 5, 2014, provided by Softbank.
Pepper has face recognition and emotion recognition functions, and is widely used in various places such as commercial facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, and offices.
For example, at Teine Keijinkai Hospital in Hokkaido, Pepper-kun is installed at the entrance, taking the temperature of each patient and asking them if they are feeling unwell.
You can also use the image recognition function to tell patients who are not wearing a mask, “Please wear a mask.”
Pepper-kun, who is active in many sites like this, has stopped production since the summer of 2020.
SoftBank said the reason for the production stop was ‘because we were able to secure enough inventory.’ However, many media speculate that the technology installed in Pepper is outdated and that demand has declined, leading to sluggish sales.
The development of home-use humanoid robots is also progressing
Due to technological progress in both the AI and robotics fields, humanoid robots for general households have begun to be developed and sold, although there are still fewer than those for companies.
The latest humanoid robot for home use – “Walker”
Walker is a humanoid AI robot for general households under development by UBTECH, a world leader in the field of humanoid robots.
The latest version of Walker was released at CES 2019, the world’s largest consumer electronics and technology trade fair, held in Las Vegas in 2019.
The latest version has the following eight features.
- Leg strength that can walk on any surface
- Autonomous balance force that can withstand external shocks and interference
- Automatic navigation function
- Ability to perceive objects and situations to the extent that humans and objects can be exchanged
- Ability to connect and control other popular AIoT devices
- Ability to interact with more than 28 types of emotions
- Function to detect external impact and automatically stop to ensure safety
- Amazing environmental and human sensitivity
Walker has a variety of functions as described above, but it is still in the development stage and sales have not started yet. Stay tuned for more updates and launches in the future.
The future of humanoid AI robots
Current humanoid AI robots enable things that were impossible with conventional robots, such as realistic facial expression, movement, conversation, and high motor function.
However, many of the humanoid AI robot technologies are still under development, and the technologies used are so advanced that there are not many products available for sale to the general public.
In the future, along with the technological progress of various companies and research institutes, the day will come when humanoid AI robots will make our lives more convenient as those technologies spread throughout the world.
We have introduced humanoid AI robots that are currently being developed and sold, focusing on their functions and technologies.
While the rapid technological progress of AI and robots has enhanced human-like facial expressions, movements, and functions, it has also been found that there are few examples of implementation in society.
Since the public’s attention and expectations for humanoid AI robots are great, development will continue to progress by all kinds of engineers.