On this page please find links to or descriptions of amazing robots that are too expensive for hobbyists to buy or make. The have one thing in common: they will blow your socks off!
The leg-wheeled Handle
OK, so that's a clumsy phrase, but it's great to see that Boston Dynamics has at last started making robots with wheels - such a great invention. Well, they kept the legs too - you'll see what I mean. So is this the shape of our future overlords? Don't watch this if you get nightmares easily! Boston Dynamics is owned by Alphabet, the same company that owns Google.
The Most Advanced Robots In The World (?)
One of the robots you saw in the above video was Atlas v1, and you can see him again in this BBC video.
The Atlas robot in the above movie made a fool of itself in the 2015 DARPA emergency recovery challenge (see 'not so amazing' below). So Boston Dynamics developed a smaller, lighter version of Atlas - very cool, as you can see in this video:
I'm always afraid that one day, when robots rule the planet, they will come across videos of robots being abused, as in the above video, and will be tempted to treat humans just as badly...
There's a problem with the 'Atlas' robot you saw in the previous videos: it uses too much power to be able to run for a useful length of time. Meet Durus, an ultra-efficient robot, 10-20 times more efficient than Atlas v1. It should be able to operate for about 5 hours on a single charge.
In January 2015 Boston Dynamics released a video of their latest robot called Spot, a smaller and quieter (battery-powered) version of Big Dog:
There is also a SpotMini with a long neck.
A fire-fighting robot
US Navy scientists have unveiled a prototype fire-fighting robot. The Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) is the size of a human and is capable of detecting fires. It can withstand higher temperatures for longer periods than humans.
Hubo is a South Korean Robot designed to assist in disaster recovery. Perhaps uniquely, it has a neat ability to switch between a biped mode for rough surfaces and a wheeled mode for smoother surfaces. See the BBC video.
Hubo (above) won the 2 million dollar first prize in the DARPA emergency recovery challenge of 2015 by completing 8 simple challenges (drive a car, drill a hole etc) in the fastest time. Only three robots out of 23 were able to complete all the challenges, and many of these very expensive robots ended up eating dirt...
Yes, these football-playing robots are amazing. Amazingly bad, that is...
Mimu is a Japanese HRP-4C robot, considered to be the most life-like female android robot on the planet. Judge for yourself as she dances and sings for you! Fortunately she doesn't have sexy legs yet, so you should be able to tell which one is Mimu...
Heinz is working to develop a robot that automatically distributes tomato ketchup...
How robots evolve (Not really)
Yes, the German rock band Compressorhead consists of four robots. They enjoy playing hits from Led Zeppelin to Motorhead.
EV3 Robot sets new world record for Rubik cube*
Did I say expensive? This robot, unlike the others on this page, is very affordable. This video shows a robot setting a new world record for the solving of a Rubik cube by a robot made from mainly Lego EV3 parts. Cube Twister can solve randomized cubes in about 2.2 seconds, on average, smashing the previous record held by Cube Stormer 3 which could only manage about 3.5 seconds. The most amazing thing about Cube Twister is that it doesn't run the normal Lego EV3 software, it runs instead EV3 Basic which was developed in 2015 to allow Lego roboticists to learn textual programming, the kind used by professional programmers. Learn more about EV3 Basic on my site EV3Basic.com.
A rock band made of heavy metal
Petman was designed to test clothing that protects against chemical warfare but he also has very human-like motions. See him at work HERE.
World's biggest walking robot
largest walking robot: 16m in length, and 8m in height. I'd love to see a robot like this in our school playground, wouldn't you?
This mouse robot has already spent a minute exploring this maze and will now attempt to complete the maze in record time!
The US army now has more than 10 thousand robots working alongside soldiers, such as Big Dog:
In love with Big Dog? See him getting angry HERE.
Big Dog Beta
Check out this early version of the Big Dog robot:
Cute and cuddly and amazingly insect-like (rather than dog-like), Little Dog does a great job navigating rough terrain. Another DARPA creation (research arm of US Army).
A bionic kangaroo?
Biomimetics is the science which looks at designs in the natural world, and then tries to copy them for the benefit of humans. A team of engineers in Germany has produced a bionic kangaroo, capable of jumping and then recovering its balance. It is also able to recover energy when jumping, storing it for use in its next jump. See the BBC report HERE. For a bionic drone bird, see this BBC video.
The main appeal of the Nao would be its relative affordability compared to the other robots on this page and the fact that it is French, showing that innovative robot designs are not entirely dominated by the US and Japan.
An improved version of the Nao, the Nao Next Gen:
Like the Nao, Pepper is made by the French company Aldebaran, which says "Pepper is the first humanoid robot designed to live with humans. Pepper is a social robot able to converse with you, recognize and react to your emotions, move and live autonomously. Engaging and friendly, Pepper is much more than a robot, he’s a companion able to communicate with you through the most intuitive interface we know: voice, touch and emotions."
Probably the world's most famous robot, Honda's Asimo robot keeps adding new features but usually follows carefully choreographed routines and thus is lacking in intelligence relative to many others (ad):
I was amazed by the coordination of these helicopters:
Want to impress your girlfriend? Buy and drive a giant robot spider HERE.
Not sure the mondopider above would impress your girlfriend? The Kuratas might have an even better chance of impressing her, if you can afford the 1,353,500 USD price tag:
This virtual music-playing robot is so complex - surely no one will ever try to actually make a real one...
Well, someone did...
Radio Controlled helicopter
Again, not really a robot since it doesn't think for itself, but nevertheless AWESOME.
At 2.5 billion dollars, this has to be the most expensive robot ever built! Currently beginning a two year exploration of the surface of Mars, this is a true robot in every sense - it has many sensors and motors, a lot of intelligence and a very high degree of autonomy (Curiosity can't be operated by remote control for it takes 15 minutes for radio signals from Earth to reach Mars).
Click HERE to visit the amazing JPL site that helps you learn about every part of the rover with simulations and even lets you drive across the surface of Mars!
How it works.
Fantastic 11 minute video of the journey to Mars and the daring lowering of the rover onto the surface by a flying crane!
And finally, the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo. Not proper robots as above, but quite spectacular nevertheless...