Robot created with real muscles to help scientists study humans
The expectation that robots and humans will interact closely is common, but predictions about how robots and people will relate and experiments testing the shapes future bots might take continue to proliferate. Will mechanical helpers look like ECCERobot?
A profile by Fast Company of the ECCERobot
project showed an advanced example of one line of envisioning in the technological field of robotics
: researching and developing humanoid robots
, with human-like skeletal systems of muscles and bones fashioned from plastic and other synthetic materials, all connected and operated by strings or other mechanisms to mimic human bodily movements, and even to imitate human limitations and frailties.
Lacking skin and other connective tissues at this stage, ECCERobot was designed by artificial consciousness
researcher Owen Holland
of the University of Bristol and collaborators with the ETF Robotics group
at the University of Belgrade, then built by The Robot Studio
, a company that supplies biomimetic
robot hardware to scientists and entertainers alike. This ugly, ungainly robot was expected to generate human screams -- not hugs -- during first encounters.
But ECCERobot's team of creators discovered most humans introduced to the grotesque, complicated machine found it surprisingly appealing, and they speculated this happened because people sensed many similarities to themselves, despite glaring differences (such as its lack of legs), and felt an uncanny sense of kinship that allowed them to relax around the bot, Fast Company reported.
to Fast Company's Co.Design blogger that imperfections were built into ECCERobot on purpose because flexible "human softness" will make the machine safer and more durable:
“This way of building robots doesn’t just produce a robot that moves like a human, but it also produces a robot that is safe for humans to interact with, because the elasticity of the 'muscles’ and 'tendons’ makes it compliant and soft, unlike conventionally engineered robots. We believe that this factor alone means that future robots will be more like ECCERobot than the current generation of hard, stiff metallic robots.”
Recently Digital Journal
and ScienceDaily have reported many related news stories about the ongoing research of separate teams of scientists and technologists worldwide attempting to reproduce or replace human
movements with capable robots
in a wide array of projects aimed at diverse purposes, from developing medical treatments
to understanding natural phenomena
to accomplishing dangerous