Humanoid Robots Dance, Perform Tai-Chi Together
Humanoid robots on stage on Feb. 20 at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa.
CREDIT: Drexel University
This dance team may not inspire the exact same fan following as some pop bands, but their performance is nevertheless a historical event. Seven identical, almost-adult-size humanoid robots danced and performed tai-chi on stage together on Feb. 20, at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa.
"Never before have seven adult-sized, fully actuated humanoids appeared on stage together," Youngmoo Kim, a Drexel engineer, said in a statement.
Each robot stood a little more than four feet tall and weighed 100 pounds. Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology built them, then sent them to Drexel to foster research collaboration between the U.S. and South Korea, according to New Jersey newspaper The Star-Ledger.
The first of the bots, named Jaemi, arrived in the city of brotherly love in 2009. Since then, students have written computer code to make Jaemi move her arms to music and play a few notes on a keyboard (Drexel students referred to the robot as a "she" in interviews with Technically Philly). Robots of Jaemi's model, called HUBO, have also been programmed to lead a game of "Simon Says" and to recognize and greet certain people. At the Feb. 20 event, Jaemi and her siblings all waved their arms in time to some music.
Eventually, the HUBOs will find new homes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Virginia Tech, the University of Southern California, Ohio State University and Purdue University, where they'll be subject to more research on turning them from stiff dancers to helpful assistants to people. By having several groups work on a common model, Kim hopes that they can build on each other's successes. Before the HUBOs, all humanoid robots were custom-made, he explained, so sometimes advances made in one design wouldn’t help other designs.
The HUBOs were part of Engineers Week at Drexel, a free engineering fair for students that's open until Feb. 24.