The latest humanoid robots being developed in Japan are learning to use obstacles in their way as tools to help them achieve specific tasks.
In what may well be seen in the future as a major breakthrough for robotics AI, the humanoid robots are also learning to walk in a way that is very similar to an elderly person.
HRP-2 is your friend
The HRP-2 robot learns to use obstacles blocking its path to its advantage.
The HRP-2 has been developed at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba.
The new robot made its public debut at the rececnt Humanoids 2010 conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
The new robotics paradigm
The Institute's Sébastien Lengagne argues that: "Roboticists usually just see objects as obstacles to be avoided…But they can help us."
"If I ask you to look below your desktop, you will put your hand on the desktop for support," he adds. "But most methods will try to get the robot to do the task without touching the desktop."
It can perform basic tasks such as leaning on a table to balance itself while kicking a ball, as New Scientist reports.
You can see a video of the HRP-2 in action over at New Scientist's website.
Via New Scientist