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Robots have been in our popular culture for years – on TV, in comic books, magazines and movies. You may not be old enough to remember Robby the Robot who was in a movie back in 1956. You’ve seen robots in RoboCop, The Jetsons, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars and Blade Runner, to name a few.

Now they’re in our lives. The first functioning robot was installed in a General Motors assembly line in 1961. Today, robots are in factories and assembly lines everywhere, faithfully performing jobs like welding, painting, assembly, printing, packaging, and labeling, palletizing, testing and more; with endurance, speed, and precision – and no bathroom breaks.   

Currently, there are five types of industrial robots: 

  • Cartesian – Cartesian robots are industrial robots that move in a straight line rather than rotation.
  • Cylindrical – Cylindrical robots have a rotary joint at the base and a prismatic joint to connect the links.
  • SCARA – A SCARA robot is most commonly used for pick-and-place or assembly operations where high speed and high accuracy is required.
  • 6-Axis – 6-Axis robots provide the flexibility, strength, and reach needed to complete most applications including welding automation, material handling, material removal, and painting.
  • Delta – A delta robot is a type of parallel robot that consists of three arms connected to universal jointsat the base.

Now, there’s another type of robot  – humanoid (android.)  A humanoid robot  is similar to a human body in shape. They are built for interaction with humans and customer service.

They have skin and eyes but are not made of flesh and bones. Humanoid robots have been around for a while, but the first one with artificial intelligence was Sophia – introduced in 2016. The latest iterations can talk and walk like humans, and express a wide range of emotions. Here are some of the most human humanoid robots, according to simplilearn;

  • Nadine – Nadine is an empathetic robot that returns greetings, makes eye contacts, and remembers conversations. She has a personality, with moods and emotions. Nadine was created by the Japanese company Kokoro.
  • Junco Chihira – Junco Chihira is a realistic humanoid robot created by Toshiba. Junco works in a tourist information center in Tokyo. In 2017, it gained speech recognition capabilities and can respond to a tourists questions.
  • Jia Jia – Jia Jia is China’s first humanoid robot. It was created by the University of Science and Technology in Shanghai. She can hold normal conversations with speech-generations algorithms and facial recognition technologies.

Next Generation Humanoid Robots

The next generation of robots will be remarkably human-like. Their hands will have better agility. They will be able to figure out what motions they need to make in real time, including sensing what’s going on in their hands at each moment. Most important, thanks to AI, they will be able to think. The top 5 are listed below:

Ameca was introduced in 2022. Engineered Arts claims it is “the world’s most advanced human-shaped robot.” It is designed to replicate natural motion and facial expression, and features a modular design with a binocular eye-mounted camera, which it can use to detect faces, and recognize an individual’s gender, emotion, and age. 

Atlas claims to be the world’s most dynamic humanoid robot, Atlas is a research platform that allows us to push the limits of whole-body mobility and bimanual manipulation. An advanced control system and state-of-the-art hardware gives the robot the power and balance to demonstrate advanced athletics and agility.

Google’s RT-2 was introduced in 2023. It melds artificial intelligence with robots. Google leverages large language models for robotics, which has led to a huge leap forward in their research. RT-2 can identify objects and process requests in human terms.

Elon Musk introduced Opitimus Gen 2 in 2023 – trained with neural nets and able to perform new tasks like sorting out objects autonomously.

Figure AI is a new entry – with $70 million in startup funding. Figure will be able to do human-like work, and according to CEO Brett Adcock, Figure’s goal is that it will be able to do anything a human can.

What will the world be like in the near future? Obviously, science fiction isn’t fiction anymore. Humanoid robots will be replacing humans in almost every capacity – and we humans might just get left in the dust.