One of the main themes at CeBIT in Hannover this year are humanoid robots. We are going to introduce you to some of the interesting exhibitors showcasing such robots, as well as explain ways in which these robots have and are still transforming our lives. But, first, let us get one thing straight – what exactly is a humanoid robot?
We have spoken a lot about robotics in our blog posts – from soft robots, cobots, SCARA robots and cleanroom robots – all of which fall under the common specter of industrial robotics. Now, we are going to expand a bit and explain to you how robots could be used by any one of us to enhance our existence
Humanoid robots are designed with an objective to mimic human form and presentation. That does not necessarily mean that they have to look identical to us – those are androids (an android and a gynoid are the male, and respectively – female types of humanoid robots, which are designed to look as human as possible). Humanoid robots have the ability to move similar to humans, which is due to the structure of their limbs and joints, which resemble our own
And why are humanoid robots even created? What are they being used for? Starting from sheer entertainment, the ways they can enhance our lives are quite broad. Currently many of them serve the purpose of being guides or digitalized assistants. They are also prepared for human to robot interactions and have the tools to detect and understand daily social conventions (like nodding or eye contact). Some robots like Atlas by Boston Dynamics are built with the intent to be used in disaster zones, as they can withstand harsh conditions and perform actions effectively, which humans cannot (like to break down a door or withstand a toxic gas). They can be used for safety, scanning suspicious luggage at airports and in public areas
Humanoid robots are also cherished in the field of psychology. Many experts use humanoid robot assistants to successfully increase social interactions among autistic children, helping the elderly and disabled people with household tasks is also a part of their many qualifications. These robots can also be used in manufacturing environments as collaborative robots and in medical environments as assistants. NASA even plans to incorporate the humanoid robot “Valkyrie” in future space missions to Mars
We have picked a few exhibitors that are worth the visit this June at CeBIT:
SoftBank Robotics – founded in 2005, a leader in humanoid robots with offices in France, Japan, US and China, is the creator of Pepper, who we met a few weeks ago at Hannover fair. He is the first humanoid robot which is capable to recognize human emotions and adapt its behavior in accordance to it. It is capable of doing real-time data analysis and is used in fields like retail, hospitality, tourism, entertainment, as well as for healthcare, education and research. Pepper is a great contribution to your home, as well as for business use for customer service and promotion representation. If you feel like visiting Pepper – stop by Softbank Robotics’ stand – Hall 17, Stand B44
Nao is another one of SoftBank Robotics’ creation and one of our favorites. Nao is a small humanoid robot – 58cm high, but its tasks are not too different to those of the ‘tall’ humanoid robots. It is equipped with a wide array of sensors and sonars, in order to perceive its environment, internal unit to help it to maintain its balance, and cameras and speakers to help it to interact. It can be used at receptions, catering to the elderly or disabled people, helping them with daily tasks. You can find Nao at SoftBank Robotics’ stand Hall 17, Stand B44
LuxAI – a Luxemburg-based startup founded in 2016, a specialist in disruptive robotic solutions in the fields of healthcare and education, will be an exhibitor at CeBIT 2018 with their product – Qtrobot. Qtrobot is an expressive humanoid robot, used for the therapy and education of autistic children, as well as a developer-friendly tool to boost research in the fields of robotics and AI. It has an intuitive interface with drag and drop (no coding!) which makes it programmable by everyone, and can be directly connected to an LCD, LAN keyboard and a mouse. Its educational programs for children with autism incorporate emotion regulation, positive social behaviors, communication and more. With its expressive face, it helps increasing the efficiency of therapy and decreases anxiety and disruptive behaviors in children with autism. If you want to meet Qtrobot in person – you can visit LuxAI’s stand at Hall 27, Stand E69
Speech by Marc Raibert – founder of Boston Dynamics
Although they will not have a stand, rumor has it that Marc Raibert – founder of Boston Dynamics and creator of SportMini (a small four-legged robot, equipped for handling objects and navigating through rough terrains) will be presenting a speech at the event, possibly accompanied by SportMini itself. Boston Dynamics is an American company founded in 1992 which specializes in design and engineering of humanoid robots. They recently gathered attention in mainstream and social media after releasing a video of two of their SportMini robots, opening a door. Their founder and creator will be a keynote speaker at the Grand Central Stage, Hall 27 for ‘d!talk’ at this year’s CeBIT event. If you feel like attending the speech and possibly meeting one of his creations – be there on the 12th of June at 6 PM
We hope that this article has been helpful to you, and we invite you to visit us in person at CeBIT 2018 from the 11th until the 15th of June at Hall 17, Stand F24! If you are looking for more to read in the field of Robotics you can check another article of ours dedicated to this theme – “Evolution of robotics: 5 trends to look out for” or subscribe to our Robotics briefing which goes out biweekly and is completely FREE of charge!