Robots are no longer limited to future TV shows or films. How many people dreamed they could have Rosie the robot maid from The Jetsons? Or how many people saw Star Wars and wanted to bring R2-D2 home? We haven’t come that far yet, but robot companions, personalized assistants, and home management tools have constantly improved since Roomba first appeared on store shelves in 2002.
Some robots are human-like and run-on artificial intelligence, while others resemble flying saucers, but they all make life easier for their human companions and are often as inexpensive as a new computer. There are home security robots, a personal pool boy, and even a robot that will play with your children.
We’ve rounded up real-life robots you can check out right now, to get you excited for the robots of tomorrow.
Robear is a high-tech teddy designed to help an elderly patient move from a bed to a wheelchair.
Toshiharu Mukai, a scientist who leads the Robot Sensor Systems Research Team at the Riken-SRK Collaboration Center for Human-Interactive Robot Research, developed Robear. Robear is the third robot bear on the team.
The spot is one of many robots designed by Boston Dynamics. He’s a little smaller than the original LS3 Big Dog, but he’s just as capable.
The spot is a 73kg electrically powered and hydraulically operated robot that can walk, trot, climb, and receive a kick while remaining upright. Let’s hope Google adapts it for general use soon.
If you like the design of Spot but want something more economical, the Xiaomi CyberDog is a good option. This is a quadruped robot that can move at speeds of up to 3.2 meters per second. It is capable of tracking item movements, building real-time maps, avoiding obstacles as it moves, and much more.
CyberDog is powered by Nvidia’s Jetson Xavier A.I. platform, which means it has some serious intelligence under the hood. It’s only 9,999 Chinese yuan (about $1,540).
A bird-legged drone
Stanford engineers have created a new robot with claws, curling toes, and bending legs inspired by birds. The published study depicts a bot that can land like a bird on branches and other surfaces. This will undoubtedly make future drones and robots easier to land. And in additional areas as well.
Hotel Henn Na
To cut labor expenses, the Weird Hotel in southwestern Japan is almost entirely maintained by robots.
The hotel, known in Japanese as Henn na Hotel, was shown to the media, replete with robot demos. During check-in, one feature demonstrated was the use of facial recognition rather than e-keys. A fascinating future vision?
Tobit, a German software firm, had a pavilion at the 2014 CeBIT expo in Hanover, displaying two pole dancing robots and a robot DJ with a megaphone for a head. The two bots were able to dance in sync with the music.
Ava Robotics Inc.
Ava Robotics has created a robot that enables workers to navigate about a remote area as if they were physically present.
This robot combines high-definition video conferencing technology with robotic mobility, allowing distant workers to seamlessly converse with their coworkers.
Sofia is a humanoid-like robot with the capacity to communicate. This robot has made multiple high-profile appearances and interviews, including one on Jimmy Fallon’s show.
Sofia is also unique in that she has been granted official Saudi citizenship as well as the United Nations title of “Innovation Champion.”
Sofia is capable of answering a wide range of questions and is also learning. Is she a foreshadowing of the future?
ASIMO is a humanoid robot that Honda has been developing for over a decade. It features hand dexterity as well as the ability to run fast, hop, jump, run backward, and climb and descend stairs. ASIMO can also recognize the faces and voices of multiple people speaking and can accurately predict what you’ll do next.
RoBoHon is a smartphone disguised as a robot. The little robot works as a normal phone, with a screen for a belly, but also does more.
The bot can move and talk for call alerts and more. It even has a projector in its face so it can lean forward and project larger images on surfaces. This could be useful for viewing photos, following a recipe, or simply as a novel hands-free option.