I saw Asimo on the weekend. Asimo is Honda’s humanoid robot. The show was very commercial, and generally aimed at entertainment than education, as you can see in my poorly taken video (you can just make out Asimo in the center.) They demonstrated some of Asimo’s capabilities such as running (at 6 km/h) and carrying a tray of drinks — overall I was quite impressed with the speed and stability at which he (/she/it?) could perform the tasks.
Here’s a video I found of Asimo at a show in Japan …Some post-show googling came up with some other interesting humanoid-like robots, such as these dancers (from Sony?) … they have much smoother and quicker motion than Asimo — though I wonder how much of it is programmed and how much is adaptive.
This has to be my favourite clip though, I laugh everytime I see it (especially the end bit with the maracas). It’s intriguing and entertaining to question the research goal of making humanoid robots — in my opinion they could serve no more goal than entertainment. The research, however, is important as it opens a whole can of theory including adaptive and complex systems, bipedal motion and stability, and research into energy conservation and storage.