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Robotics Now - 2014

Updated on September 9, 2014

Yes a Feminized Bot- dancing

March 11th, 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Power. It is said, that "only if there was a robot, which could have entered the plant... TO TURN A VALVE... the entire major "incident" could have been averted."

We did not have one.

But I'll send the dancing Fem-Bot... right over, maybe "she" can help. For "smart" monkeys, don't we seem a little dumb? A little "slow" on the uptake? Why don't we just EMBRACE all this stuff and RUN with it. GMC needs to move over for U.S. Robots Inc. Or... Automation Design-and-Development, or some other Asimovian-styled name. Shouldn't there be some sort of BIG push for us (America) to simply take over this high tech stuff, and RUN with it like it's "ours" and our foundational technology, the very foundation of future economy perhaps? Hmm?

Artful Fantasy or Pending Reality?

When a Man - becomes machinelike, or a Machine becomes Humanlike.  There could be a blurring of lines
When a Man - becomes machinelike, or a Machine becomes Humanlike. There could be a blurring of lines

What is in a "Wink", and why would a robot care?

Meet NASA's Valkyrie: "Turning a Valve..." and what Else maybe?

Shortly after the Fukushima incident, the "DARPA Robotics Challenge" was created. It is a challenge to develop emergency response robots for major disasters. Like Japans.

The purpose?

Simply to actually create highly usable robots that can directly assist in disaster situations ... where humans may not even be able to survive.

Nov 2012, in Osaka Japan there was a Humanoid Conference held, and Gill Pratt, (DARPA) was one of the participants. He came to invite engineers to join a project sponsored by the U.S. Defense department.

The Robotic Challenge - consists of 8 tasks. 1) Driving a vehicle to approach a disaster site. 2) Walking over Rubble. 3) Removing obstacles. 4) Opening doors 5) Using tools to break down walls. 6) Climbing ladders 7) Turning valves. 8) Making varied basic electro-mechanical repairs.


A single robot MUST complete all 8 tasks. The development period is two years. DARPA will provide contestants with funding of up to 4-million dollars. DARPA has received proposals from over 100 research groups world wide. This includes renowned groups such as NASA or MIT. Japan is at the forefront of humanoid robotics engineering, yet, their researchers hesitated to join this competition. (You may have heard of ASIMO, the Honda Humanoid?) One of Japan's leading humanoid robotic candidates is named "ASIMO" (after the Science Fiction author, Isaac Asimov, one of my own childhood favorite authors).

The University of Tokyo's robotics lab, is another group in the engineering competition. U. of Tokyo and Honda, are two of the worlds premier leaders in humanoid technology. But U. of Tokyo has one major problem.

They BAN military-funded research.

Three of the U of Tokyo researchers made a decision. They informed the University they were leaving. [ Schaft Inc - 'hongo office' ??? a pic in the movie, is this their HQ? ] They created a venture-company and entered the DARPA robotics challenge. Their rationale for their decision was that they simply wished to enter competition to help resolve this (ongoing) nuclear crisis.

6 months after forming their venture the team completed their first prototype with help from university graduates. It is, a humanoid. It's arms can exert forces 10X those of most conventional humanoid models. It can easily turn a valve that is too tight for a person to turn. This robot is electrical, and the grapplers or "hands" of the device are driven by motors that will use a massive current to push their motors to the max, instead of a hydraulic solution. It does have a liquid coolant system, and the fluid they use is colored red, which is of course reminiscent of blood. It's purpose is to keep it's motors from over-heating. It's cooling system SHOULD allow the robot to perform hours of grueling work at disaster sites.

Need a hand?

Robotic Dancer (Female)

Pole? Dancer?

Valkyrie - NASA

Asimo - HONDA

South Korea

South Korea is quickly catching up with Japan, in humanoid robotic development.

KAIST is a government-funded lab for the development of science and technology. Their version of Humanoid Robot is called HUBO, and was developed over the last 5 years. ASIMO has been under development for the last 14 years. I do remember the very earliest videos of ASIMO which came out on the internet around the year 1999.

HUBO has all the physical ability of ASIMO and at this time does not have it's own Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). United States researchers are in collaboration with the Korean HUBO developers, and will develop and provide that A.I. A joint U.S. and South Korean team will compete in the DARPA robotics challenge.

The South Korean attitude is that other development groups are "Too Closed Minded". Most groups are fighting for secrecy. Therefore they are insular, and secretive about development. But to actually accomplish the goal, the South Koreans believe there should be an open approach.

Researchers at HONDA were invited into the DARPA challenge, but they declined.

Their own efforts HAVE been focused on creating a robot specifically for their immediate nuclear crisis. The device was a working prototype as of a year ago, but has yet to be deployed to the nuclear site. This is in reaction to a request by the TEPCO executives to make a few changes in it's specifications. TEPCO's requirement is leaning more towards assessment of conditions within the facilities, and say it is too early to have robots "turning valves", without some analysis first. HONDA is complying with the creation of a custom robotic solution.

HONDA is, of course, working on an updated version of it's ASIMO, precisely for use in disasters. A majority of the site within the Tepco nuclear power plant, is dark, physically destroyed, and off-limits to humans.

ONLY a humanoid robot with both the motor skills AND independent intelligence will be able to navigate such a challenging environment. Reach the accident site, then perform tasks identical to those of humans.

They are planning a dramatic update. Not only will ASIMO walk, but it will use it's arms to crawl or loco-mote in any way possible to reach an objective. The robot must be able to trip and fall, then recover. It must be able to simply and suddenly FALL, perhaps to a lower altitude, and then compensate. This is a major addition to its fundamental walking and running abilities. The ASIMO can even hop on one foot.

Imagine, that it becomes damaged. And has ONE FOOT remaining. And can only hop. Or push with one leg, while crawling. Or... what if it loses both legs? Or loses an arm? Or both arms?

What then?

The robot is useless, unless it can efectively reach the scene and function once there. This is truly a robotics revolution in evolution taking place now. And it is part of the commercial climate of the entire world.

Doesn't it make you wonder what projects are entirely and totally SECRET? Off-limits to our knowledge?

Are there synthetics among us now?

Which is the Android-Twin?

Japan is putting effort into humanoids -
Japan is putting effort into humanoids -

Maybe Bots don't have to be cute, useful OR Sexy: Terminator

HEY BUDDY?  Would you like a little SKIN CREAM For that "rash"?  ... No?
HEY BUDDY? Would you like a little SKIN CREAM For that "rash"? ... No?

TERMINATOR - one of my favorite fantasy movies

How Fukushima SHOULD have gone - Our likely future/reality

The robot is crawling slowly and laboriously through fallen rubble in the power-plant. It's communications with it's handlers, is completely severed due to the surrounding structure. It cannot even reach the simple repeater it just left behind in an adjacent room now. Neither radio nor infrared get through. It is dark in here, darker than a than a starry night outside. There is less than starlight in this space. It's infra-red optics enable it to see nearly all things in it's path. It's senses are many: sonar, infrared, radio/electromagnetics, visual through the entire spectrum and even olfactory. It can smell fundamentally and has a fair library of scents stored. It also has a very accurate fundamental inertial guidance. It calculates and recalculates directions, maintaining it's overall heading. It is comparing the original floor plan of the industrial facility with what it is mapping now, in real time. It can perform fundamental geometric analysis and navigation, and can compensate for obstructions by lifting and moving material or cutting it's way through a wall or door, if necessary. It can operate doors, it can break through doors. It will make a hole for itself if possible or try other navigational routes just to "see", if another route is possible through the damaged and half-demolished facility.

Crawling. The floor gives way with a crack, and the robot falls 15 feet, to a level below. Heavy rubble lands atop the humanoid, and crushes it's right leg below the knee. Within 5 seconds it has re-evaluated it's physical condition, and implements it's own disaster-recovery protocols... It completely severs all power feeds to the major systems below it's right knee. The knee joint will still operate. it leaves it's feedback systems within the damaged leg operating, and can use the leg, as a "peg-leg" to continue walking... locomotion will now be a bit slower.

It will "navigate" until it can no longer navigate. Or, if it is becoming increasingly dysfunctional and has the ability to decide to attempt return, it will return and report it's findings, delivering at least it's navigational data, and situation analysis. Or, if it dies in the attempt, it will at least, house the data it accumulates, until "found" by the next Bot.

It shoves itself slowly upward, moving to it's hands and knees. Debris falls off it's back. It brings it's left leg forward, plants the foot carefully, and cautiously and slowly stands, sensing itself all the while and running rapid diagnostics. All is well, except for the broken lower right leg. The essential structural strength appears to be still in the leg, but the foot and ankle are now destroyed, the source of sporadic electronic feedback. The Bot visually inspects the foot. Yes, it still appears to be attached. Not knowing if the systems work with absolute certainty, the Bot sends signals that should lock the foot in position, if it is lockable.

It is essentially still fully functional, but now lame. It must return to the floor above, and it compares maps, with what surrounds it now, It slowly begins walking again, a limping gait, and tests it's ability to walk... The leg does appear usable for now, it is moving to where a stair well used to be. And in a worst case, it will have to find a way to climb up the hole it just fell through.

It must reach the control room... And the machine will attempt this, until it experiences complete systems failure. If it does fail, the next robot attempting entry behind it, will likely locate it via a homing beacon... will acquire whatever information is to be found within the damaged 'bot preceding it, and then will continue the quest until it reaches the goal..

Not really ROBOTS but... this is from my Robo-Hound article

based upon the video for Swedish House Mafia and Absolut Vodka -    NO Robo-Hounds were damaged during the making of this Video
based upon the video for Swedish House Mafia and Absolut Vodka - NO Robo-Hounds were damaged during the making of this Video

by a Nose: I have an article here on this video for FaceBook

This Video is a fairly spectacular source of very interesting FaceBook cover pictures.  There is some very artistically done imagery here...
This Video is a fairly spectacular source of very interesting FaceBook cover pictures. There is some very artistically done imagery here...

S.H.M. - Greyhound - extended remix

How Human is "Human"?

And when do "Rights" activists get involved?
And when do "Rights" activists get involved?

Anthropomorphism is....

Our natural tendency is to attribute the quality of "Humanity" to lifeless objects. The thing is, as they become more and more "animated" in an increasingly life-like manner. I suppose we are forced to GIVE these objects more and then even MORE of the "qualities" of Life.

One of the strangest of our anthropomorphic subjects here is the Dancing female from above. It is actually an artistic project in animatronics. The fact that it is "slightly odd" does lend more legitimacy to the "Artistic-drama" of the object. A synthetic Female-dancer.

of course... She does not have to look gruesome, like here in HD

Yet, in some ways her movements are most lifelike. I have not studied any of these robots in any great detail, but, from the way the female dancer moves, I would believe it if someone said there was a certain amount of "motion capture" done and recorded into the system, and many moves are derived from a HUMAN... prerecorded, and reused in her routines. I would find that very believable. I do not think her motions are purely of mechanical/computerized origin. Asimo's movements ARE entirely computed on-the-fly... and they ARE eerily animalistically/human. That is because the mechanisms ARE "sensing" and acting/reacting to the world around them in full / "Living" feedback. Just in the same/similar way a human would.

But, if my observations are correct, the dancing witch is some form of "motion capture" system. With phenomenal mechanical playback.

It is still a testament to the mechanics of the animated body... the hand/arm movements are quite convincing. Very fluid and feminine hand/arm movement. And the moment that a robot can STAND upon it's own feet (supporting it's own weight) in realistic fashion... THEN the "strangeness factor" will leap upwards on the scale.

At what point does it BECOME human? I personally am not too terribly concerned about that aspect of it. I am content to see the anthropoid tools / mechanisms for what they are.

And if our ARTISTS are merely doing little projects like this,... what can the infinite budget of a military project accomplish?

Are synthetics among us?

Mechanism of a Robotic Kangaroo

They're coming, - Really.


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