Sony QRIO Running

Is it a sign your blog is moving up in the world when strangers send you press releases before they hit SlashDot? Someone sent me
this press release11:30 last night (US central time). I wasn’t sure if I was going to post it, but it hit slashdot this morning, and I’m getting a big secondary SlashDot effect from it today.

I haven’t been able to find the movies of QRIO running but
the thrust is that they’ve come up with a way of making bipedal motion controllers that allow the robot to perform actions wherein both feet leaving the floor. The details of this kind of controller are only of marginal interest to me, but the implications for AI are fascinating. Every small step that makes the robot more agile and human-like brings A.I. a little closer. More immediately, the implications for robot soccer are very cool. Hopefully there will be running, jumping humanoid soccer players at RoboCup this summer.

Here is a movie: Windows Media, RealPlayer, and the page (in Japanese) that it came from. (Thanks Peter Stone) — tough to see where both feet leave the ground, except for a couple tiny jumps in the middle. Still, very cool.

Update: More coverage:

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Honda Asimo Robot Video

My favorite ai-will-lead-to-economic-doom pundit, Marshall Brain, has a cool video of Honda’s Asimo robot performing in Raleigh. He notes how “eerily anthropomorphic” the robot is. That’s the whole point of androids, of course. But the power of anthropomorphism is really evident in the video. The power of humanoids is all tied up with the irony of this anthropomorphism: The robot in the video is basically just performing a pre-programmed sequence of actions. It doesn’t see the audience when it turns its head or waves at them and it probably doesn’t even see the woman in front of it as it mimics her. Yet it really looks like it must be thinking and perceiving like a person.

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