There’s a certain delight many people take in seeing robots fail. On the flip side, there’s an existential terror to witnessing robots behave a little too much like humans. Take this humanoid robot developed at the University of Tokyo, showing us how he gets swole:
There’s something disturbing about this placid-faced android doing sit-ups and calf flexes, but the possibilities that this technology creates are actually pretty inspiring. Traditional humanoid robots have been developed for lots of different priorities but for this research, roboticists Yuki Asano, Kei Okada, and Masayuki Inaba wanted to design robots that could mimic human physical movement more accurately.
This required designing a skeletal structure, joints, muscles, body proportions, and even a sort of central nervous system more analogous to a human being. They ended up creating two, which they named Kenshiro and Kengoro, according to a study published Wednesday in Science Robotics.
With this more biologically correct analog, researchers were able to have the androids perform movements never before seen. And they believe this research could have some significant real-world applications, such as helping to build better prosthetics to allowing a deeper understanding of the human body itself.
With that understanding, it makes Kenshiro and Kengoro’s workout a little less menacing. But I still don’t want to spend a lot of time staring at this:
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