Kawada Unveils New Athletic Looking Bipedal Robot – HRP4 (video)
It's always exciting when you add a new member to the family, especially if it's a robot. Kawada and AIST have just unveiled their latest bipedal humanoid robot in the HRP series. The HRP4 is slimmer and more athletic looking than its predecessors but has all the same dexterity and precision. At 1.51 meters tall (~ 5 feet) and 39 kilogram (~ 86 lbs), the robot is another step by Kawada to develop a bot that can work alongside and be accepted by humans. It comes with a camera and microphones in its head to gather human input. Watch it show off its object recognition and tracking skills starting at 5:30 in the video below. This is a pretty slick looking robot.
I've previously been impressed with the HRP line, especially with the HRP-2 which has demonstrated some top notch walking and bipedal navigation skills. It's unclear how much of the previous work on HRP series will directly port over to the newest model, but one hopes that the HRP4 will have all the smarts and skills of its older brothers. Kawada is looking to sell the HRP4 to research facilities starting in January. The price tag will be around $300,000 USD. That places it in the same field as Willow Garage's PR2 (going on sale for $400,000) but it's hard to compare the two systems. The PR2 has a considerable advantage in its open software development library, while the HRP4 can actually walk around on legs. I better play it safe and buy both. Anybody have three quarters of a million dollars they can spare?