A Humanoid may be defined as something that resembles or looks like a human and having characteristics like opposable thumb, ability to walk in upright position, etc. Nowadays the concept of Humanoids is being widely implemented in Robotics and these robots are called Humanoid Robots or may be simply “Humanoids”.
In general Humanoid robots have a torso with a head, two arms and two legs, although some forms of humanoid robots may model only part of the body, for example, from the waist up. Some humanoid robots may also have a 'face', with 'eyes' and 'mouth'. Androids are humanoid robots built to resemble a male human, and Gynoids are humanoid robots built to resemble a human female.
A Humanoid robot is fully automated as it can adapt to its surroundings and continue with its goals.
Historical Timeline of Humanoids
In 1921, Karel Capek coined the term Robot. After that, during 1941-42, Isaac Asimov proposed Three Laws of Robotics and in 1948, Norbert Wiener formulated the principle of Cybemetics.
The theory of Zero Moment Point (ZMP) was given by Miomir Vukobratovic, in 1969, which is the most fundamental theoretical model of Biped Locomotion.
In 1973, in Waseda University, Tokyo, WABOT-1 was developed, which was capable to communicate with a person in Japanese, could do distance and direction measurements using sensors, artificial ears and eyes and an artificial mouth.
More developments in 20th century include Greenman in 1983, WABOT-2 in 1984, WHL-11 in 1985, the musician robot- WASUBOT in 1985, series of seven biped robots called E0-E6 by Honda in 1986, the full scale anthromorphic robot- MANNY in 1989, with 42 degrees of freedom, Honda’s P1 through P3 in 1993, HADALY and WAIBAN in 1995, SAIKA in 1996 and ASIMO by Honda in 2000.
In 21st Century, further additions were done by Sony’s ORIO in 2001, HOAP and ACTROID in 2003, PERSIA and KHR-1 in 2004, PKD android and WAKAMARU in 2005, TOPIO in 2007, Justin, KT-X and NEXI in 2008, SURALP in 2009, Robonaut-2, SURENA-II and HRP-4C in 2010.
Features of Humanoid Robots
The characteristics features of Humanoid Robots include:
- autonomous learning
- avoiding harmful situations to people, property, and itself
- safe interacting with human beings and the environment
In the near future we will require small, light and cheap robots that exhibit complex behaviors. For example, M2-M4 Macaco project has developed a portable system which is capable of emulating the head of different creatures both aesthetically and functionally. The pervasive robotics will concentrate its research on certain critical aspects like Object Analysis, Social Mechanisms and Navigation.
Though the technology has advanced much in the field of Humanoid Robotics, there are still several problems which need attention. The technological brilliance of the humanoids is required to be sharpened more and the shortcomings in the results must be dealt with properly. The field of Humanoid Robotics is a very promising one and there are a lot of changes needed to be brought in this technology.