Now, ‘robotic boy’ to help humans with everyday tasks

Sunday, December 30, 2012
An artist's impression of how Roboy could look 
Berne: Roboy is a robot with a future. Envisaging a new generation of robots Scientists have revealed a pioneering project to create a humanoid helper robot with artificial muscles-within the record-breaking timeframe of only nine months.

With an innovative industrial research and outstanding scientific direction this ambitious project began a good five months ago at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the University of Zurich, and its goal is to develop one of the most advanced humanoid robots within a self-set deadline.

Today “Roboy” is getting a new face and can already move his arms – and soon he will be presented to the public to celebrate the laboratory's 25th anniversary at the robotics fair "Robots on Tour".

The robot is built to be human-like. The tendons will help the Roboy get human like actions and the engineers are also developing a soft-skin for the bot. The team wants the Roboy to help the kids with their daily chores.

Artificial Intelligence at Lab hope that 1.2m tall Roboy, designed to look like a child, will eventually help the sick and elderly by acting as a mechanical helper. To help the robot move, the team is developing radical artificial 'tendons'.

                                                          Video Credit: 

Roboy will have skeleton similar to human beings
Successful technology transfer and innovative funding
The achievements of the 15 project partners and over 40 engineers and scientists so far are impressive. Research and industry are working together on a joint project, thus enabling a spectacular technology transfer. All involved are staunch supporters of the new research direction of "soft robotics" and aim to support Switzerland as a hub of technology. Another innovative element that's innovative in this project is the way it is funded.

Living side-by-side with service robots like Roboy
Service robots are machines that are, to a certain extent, able to execute services independently for the convenience of human beings. Since they share their "living space" with people, user- friendliness and safety, above all, are of great importance. This is why so-called "soft robotics" – the development of robots that are soft to the touch, soft in their interaction, soft and natural in their movements – will play an ever greater role in this field.

Innovation and new findings thanks to Roboy
Creating humanoid robots presents researchers with great challenges. Elements such as quick, smooth movements or robust, flexible yet soft skin are difficult to recreate. Fundamental new findings are needed for this purpose. It is precisely through projects like Roboy that innovation is possible.

The findings from its predecessor "Ecce" are being evaluated, leading to improvements and new materials. A robotics platform is being created to investigate and further develop the principles of tendon-driven drive technology 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.

The team is already developing parts of the Roboy, such as its 
skeleton  like chest which houses spring-like artificial tendons

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