by Kathy Jones on  October 26, 2012 at 7:36 PM General Health News
 Next Generation Humanoids Will Dance and Play
Even as the use of robots in surgeries continues to grow, researchers in Bristol and Essex are creating a new generation of humanoids that can perform complex tasks like humans, including the ability to play football.

The prototypes of robots are being designed to rescue us, clear our sewers and become our companions.

Scientists even hope some of the humanoid designs will one day compete - and beat - humans in football matches, the Daily Mail reported.

Some can walk, talk and dance, speak 20 languages, hold conversations and respond with life-like expressions.

Most interesting of all is The BERT2 humanoid, which can interact with humans using an expressive face and artificial hands.

Theoretically, it could be controlled from anywhere in the world and so could be the forerunner of a robotic surgeon performing remote operations around the globe.

Others have been inspired by nature and can swim like fish or mimic the flight of birds and insects.

The Robotic Fish, which has the 'natural speed and motion of a large carp', can operate autonomously and is designed to monitor water pollution and detect leaks from ships in harbour.

Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos, senior researcher at the Bristol Robotic Laboratory, said the scientists had looked to nature for inspiration.

One of his personal creations is the EcoBot III, which can power itself by 'feeding' on sewage water.

The water provides nutrients for the robot's fuel cells and these generate electricity to power it.

This self-sustainability means it could eventually be programmed to roam along sewers, cleaning them as it goes.

"By looking at how animals in nature sustain themselves, a robot could be developed that is able to operate in hostile and lethal environments, providing a service to humankind," the paper quoted Dr Ieropoulos as saying.

Others like the Shrewbot and SCRATCHbot, which both have sensitive 'whiskers', could be used in rescue missions to search pitch-black caves.

The iCub - a 'robot youngster' modelled on a three-and-a-half year old child - is designed to give insight into how real humans develop and learn from their environment.

The Robothespian, made by Engineered Arts Ltd of Cornwall, is a 'humanoid acting robot' that can be programmed to move like a human actor.

It uses facial-recognition software to mimic human movement and respond to faces. One version speaks 20 different languages.

Jules and Eve are humanoid heads, which are able to talk and respond to people with human-like facial expressions. They are covered in a synthetic skin for a lifelike appearance.

Source: ANI

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