Rise of the Robots
Multiskilled droids ready to help in the kitchen, play with the kids or take us around town will be marching into our homes soon, if recent tech shows are anything to go by. As domestic bots become more sophisticated, Marianna Cerini checks out five you m
Conceived in 1986, Asimo was developed by Honda in 2000, making it one of the oldest droids, and its current iteration is hailed as one of the world’s most advanced robots. Asimo can walk, dance, run and grip things, and recently received an upgrade that enhanced intelligence and dexterity, so it is now able to respond to events around it, carry trays and heavy grocery bags, and even serve tea. The bot is also capable of complex sign language. Honda is working on further enhancements and plans to have Asimo in stores within a decade. Softbank Robotics’ engineering and software enable Nao, 11 years old and in its 5th iteration, to move around and adapt to its environment with the aid of sensors in its head, hands and feet. Four directional microphones and loudspeakers allow it to interact with humans, and the 58cm dynamo displays an array of nuanced personalities. While Nao has great novelty value, such as playing soccer and grooming a cat, it can also do some serious good. In a programme called Autism Solutions for Kids, or ASK Nao, the robot plays educational games that help autistic children work on communication and emotional intelligence. You can get your hands on Nao for US$7,990.