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Most Awesome Robots In The World - Top 5

Published July 29, 2012
In the recent decades, the development of robots has been gaining momentum. We have selected the five coolest robots that exist right now.

It is said that the ability to use tools is what separates humans from other species (although chimps, parrots and some others actually have the same ability). Since the industrial revolution, we have also become masters of automatic tools - machines. The last decades we have taken the next step, and started constructing machines with intelligence - robots. In this list of the most awesome robots in the world, you can read about how far we have come in this endeavour. Which of these robots that is the most advanced, or most intelligent, is hard to determine, since they all have different tasks. The specifications for each robot are taken from their manufacturer's websites.

5. SmartBird

SmartBird is a robotic bird developed by the privately owned company Festo. SmartBird has a wingspan of nearly 2 m (6.5 ft) but weighs only 450 g (1 lbs), and can thus be powered by a small motor of 23 W (like a bulb). Festo has specialized in finding and mimicing principles of nature, in this case a bird's flying technique. SmartBird can fly and land automatically, but its "behaviour" can be adjusted using a remote control.

4. Nao

French-made Nao is the only robot on this list somewhat available for the general public. A couple of years ago, it replaced Sony's robot dog Aibo in the yearly Robot Soccer World Cup, and is available for participating teams to program. Nao can also, for a relatively low price, be bought by universities for scientific and teaching purposes. Nao has the ability to recognize objects, sounds and even faces. If it falls it can get back up again and if you touch it, it feels it. The 58 cm (1.9 ft) tall robot is well-functioning, but not as impressive as its rival ASIMO (furher down on the list).

3. Actroid

The Actroid-series is developed by the university in Osaka and the robot company Kokoro. They are not the most advanced robots in terms of artificial intelligence, but the unique thing about them is that they resemble humans to a high degree - something many other robot manufacturers avoid. Some of the Actroid-models are specialized in imitating persons they meet, while others can be remote controlled like avatars. The robots are not really used for something useful right now, but they can be rented for a big cost for exhibitions or movie premieres. The video above shows the Actroid-F model, designed to look like an avarage young Japanese woman. All Actroid models have great mobility in their facial "muscles", but less in the rest of the body.

2. BigDog

BigDog is designed by the engineers at Boston Dynamics for the United States Department of Defense. It is supposed to serve as a pack mule for the military, even in rough terrain. Big Dog has four legs instead of wheels or continuous tracks. It has stereo vision to maintain balance, a laser gyroscope and a number of sensors on the legs. Combined, these technical details give BigDog a very lifelike behaviour, especially when it slips or get pushed. Big Dog is about 90 cm (3 ft) long, 75 cm (2.5 ft) tall and weighs 110 kg (243 lb). It can carry 150 kg (331 lb) and move at a speed of 6 km/h (3.7 mph).

1. ASIMO

The 130 cm (4 ft) tall and 54 kg (119 lb) heavy ASIMO from Japanese Honda is programmed to function in normal human environments. It can walk at 2.7 km/h (1.7 mph) or run at almost 6 km/h (3.7 mph), and has the ability to avoid bumping into people on the way. It can also register when being touched and can recognize objects, gestures, sounds and faces. This makes ASIMO well adapted to interact with people, and the basic idea is that it should function as an assistent. For example, it can guide the visually impaired or disabled. So far, the expensive ASIMO is mainly found in exhibitions, where it can be seen dancing or pouring coffee. But its proven potential makes it the most awesome robot today.
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