Most humanoid robots tend to walk with bent knees. It makes them look like they’re trying to sneak up on someone at high speeds. HUBO II, however, has mastered straight leg walking which makes its ‘father’ Professor Jun Ho Oh very proud. Oh, leader of the Hubo Lab at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), recently gave a really great interview to Erico Guizzo of IEEE Spectrum. The professor explains the new walking technique, the robot’s dextrous hands, and its ability to upgrade. The HUBO II has an entire onboard computer available to run programs created by other developers. That’s an open invitation to faster innovation. Watch the proud papa with his mechanical son in the video below.
Along with other humanoid robots, like Honda’s ASIMO, HUBO represents an attempt to replicate realistic human movement and ability. To that end, straight walking is a great accomplishment. However, I think the possibility for incorporating third-party code (via the second onboard processor) may be the more important feature of the HUBO II. We’ve already seen how the HUBO was adapted to include Hanson Robotic’s realistic replica of Albert Einstein’s head. It’s possible we could see some similar, though perhaps strictly code based, cooperation from other teams in the near future. I’m certainly interested to see what the Hubo Lab comes up with next.
HUBO II starts to walk around 1:14 and shakes hands at 1:43. Hey, isn’t that the KAIST Star Wars walker in the background?
[screen capture and video credit: Erico Guizzo at IEEE Spectrum]
[source: Hubo Lab, KAIST]