Robotics offers mankind a better future







For nearly the whole of the 20th century, bipedal robots were very difficult to construct and robot locomotion involved only wheels, treads, or multiple legs. Recent cheap and compact computing power has made two-legged robots more feasible. Some notable biped robots are ASIMO, HUBO and QRIO. Recently, spurred by the success of creating a fully passive, un-powered bipedal walking robot, those working on such machines have begun using principles gleaned from the study of human and animal locomotion, which often relies on passive mechanisms to minimize power consumption. Bipedal robots are becoming the most researched type of robots, with many universities innovating in this field of research; they are also becoming more and more mobile, with some of them being able to run, such as the Raptor, clokced at 28 miles per hour.







Bipedalism is a form of terrestrial locomotion where an organism moves by means of its two rear limbs, or legs. An animal or machine that usually moves in a bipedal manner is known as a biped, meaning "two feet" (from the Latin bi for "two" and ped for "foot"). Types of bipedal movement include walking, running, or hopping, on two appendages (typically legs).

Few modern species are habitual bipeds whose normal method of locomotion is two-legged. Within mammals, habitual bipedalism has evolved multiple times, with the macropods, kangaroo rats and mice, springhare, hopping mice, pangolins and homininan apes, as well as various other extinct groups evolving the trait independently. In the Triassic period some groups of archosaurs (a group that includes the ancestors of crocodiles) developed bipedalism; among their descendants the dinosaurs, all the early forms and many later groups were habitual or exclusive bipeds; the birds descended from one group of exclusively bipedal dinosaurs.

A larger number of modern species utilise bipedal movement for a short time. Several non-archosaurian lizard species move bipedally when running, usually to escape from threats. Many primate and bear species will adopt a bipedal gait in order to reach food or explore their environment. Several arboreal primate species, such as gibbons and indriids, exclusively utilise bipedal locomotion during the brief periods they spend on the ground. Many animals rear up on their hind legs whilst fighting or copulating. A few animals commonly stand on their hind legs, in order to reach food, to keep watch, to threaten a competitor or predator, or to pose in courtship, but do not move bipedally.




Limited and exclusive bipedalism can offer a species several advantages. Bipedalism raises the head; this allows a greater field of vision with improved detection of distant dangers or resources, access to deeper water for wading animals and allows the animals to reach higher food sources with their mouths. While upright, non-locomotory limbs become free for other uses, including manipulation (in primates and rodents), flight (in birds), digging (in giant pangolin), combat (in bears and the large monitor lizard) or camouflage (in certain species of octopus). The maximum bipedal speed appears less fast than the maximum speed of quadrupedal movement with a flexible backbone – the ostrich reaches speeds of 65 km/h (40 mph) and the red kangaroo 70 km/h (43 mph), while the cheetah can exceed 100 km/h (62 mph). Bipedality in kangaroo rats has been hypothesized to improve locomotor performance,[clarification needed] which could aid in escaping from predators.


There are a number of states of movement commonly associated with bipedalism.

* Standing. Staying still on both legs. In most bipeds this is an active process, requiring constant adjustment of balance.
* Walking. One foot in front of another, with at least one foot on the ground at any time.
* Running. One foot in front of another, with periods where both feet are off the ground.
* Jumping/hopping. Moving by a series of jumps with both feet moving together.


Most bipedal animals move with their backs close to horizontal, using a long tail to balance the weight of their bodies. The primate version of bipedalism is unusual because the back is close to upright (completely upright in humans). Many primates can stand upright on their hind legs without any support. Chimpanzees, bonobos, gibbons and baboons exhibit forms of bipedalism. Injured chimpanzees and bonobos have been capable of sustained bipedalism. Geladas, although often quadrupedal, will move between adjacent feeding patches with a squatting, shuffling bipedal form of locomotion. Three captive primates, one macaque Natasha and two chimps, Oliver and Poko (chimpanzee), were found to move bipedally[clarification needed]]. Natasha switched to exclusive bipedalism after an illness, while Poko was discovered in captivity in a tall, narrow cage. Oliver reverted to knuckle-walking after developing arthritis.

In addition, non-human primates often use bipedal locomotion when carrying food. One hypothesis for human bipedalism is thus that it evolved as a result of differentially successful survival from carrying food to share with group members, although there are other hypotheses, as discussed below.


There are at least twelve distinct hypotheses as to how and why bipedalism evolved in humans, and also some debate as to when. Bipedalism evolved well before the large human brain or the development of stone tools. Bipedal specializations are found in Australopithecus fossils from 4.2-3.9 million years ago. Recent evidence regarding modern human sexual dimorphism (physical differences between male and female) in the lumbar spine has been seen in pre-modern primates such as Australopithecus africanus. This dimorphism has been seen as an evolutionary adaptation of females to bear lumbar load better during pregnancy, an adaptation that non-bipedal primates would not need to make. The different hypotheses are not necessarily mutually exclusive and a number of selective forces may have acted together to lead to human bipedalism. It is important to distinguish between adaptations for bipedalism and adaptations for running, which came later still.

Possible reasons for the evolution of human bipedalism include freeing the hands for tool use and carrying, sexual dimorphism in food gathering, changes in climate and habitat (from jungle to savanna) that favored a more elevated eye-position, and to reduce the amount of skin exposed to the tropical sun.

Savanna-based theory

According to the savanna-based theory, hominines descended from the trees and adapted to life on the savanna by walking erect on two feet. The theory suggests that early hominids were forced to adapt to bipedal locomotion on the open savanna after they left the trees. In fact, Elizabeth Vrba’s turnover pulse hypothesis supports the savanna-based theory by explaining the shrinking of forested areas due to global warming and cooling, which forced animals out into the open grasslands and caused the need for hominids to acquire bipedality.

Rather, the bipedal adaptation hominines had already achieved was used in the savanna. The fossil record shows that early bipedal hominines were still adapted to climbing trees at the time they were also walking upright. Hominine fossils found in dry grassland environments led anthropologists to believe hominines lived, slept, walked upright, and died only in those environments because no hominine fossils were found in forested areas. However, fossilization is a rare occurrence—the conditions must be just right in order for an organism that dies to become fossilized for somebody to find later, which is also a rare occurrence. The fact that no hominine fossils were found in forests does not ultimately lead to the conclusion that no hominines ever died there. The convenience of the savanna-based theory caused this point to be overlooked for over a hundred years.

Some of the fossils found actually showed that there was still an adaptation to arboreal life. For example, Lucy, the famous Australopithecus afarensis, found in Hadar in Ethiopia, which may have been forested at the time of Lucy’s death, had curved fingers that would still give her the ability to grasp tree branches, but she walked bipedally. “Little Foot,” the collection of Australopithecus africanus foot bones, has a divergent big toe as well as the ankle strength to walk upright. “Little Foot” could grasp things using his feet like an ape, perhaps tree branches, and he was bipedal. Ancient pollen found in the soil in the locations in which these fossils were found suggest that the area used to be covered in thick vegetation and has only recently become the arid desert it is now.

Traveling efficiency hypothesis

An alternative explanation is the mixture of savanna and scattered forests increased terrestrial travel by proto-humans between clusters of trees, and bipedalism offered greater efficiency for long-distance travel between these clusters than quadrupedalism.

Postural feeding hypothesis

The postural feeding hypothesis has been recently supported by Dr. Kevin Hunt, a professor at Indiana University. This hypothesis asserts that chimpanzees were only bipedal when they ate. While on the ground, they would reach up for fruit hanging from small trees and while in trees, bipedalism was utilized by grabbing for an overhead branch. These bipedal movements may have evolved into regular habits because they were so convenient in obtaining food. Also, Hunt hypothesises that these movements coevolved with chimpanzee arm-hanging, as this movement was very effective and efficient in harvesting food. When analyzing fossil anatomy, Australopithecus afarensis has very similar features of the hand and shoulder to the chimpanzee, which indicates hanging arms. Also, the Australopithecus hip and hind limb very clearly indicate bipedalism, but these fossils also indicate very inefficient locomotive movement when compared to humans. For this reason, Hunt argues that bipedalism evolved more as a terrestrial feeding posture than as a walking posture.

Provisioning model

One theory on the origin of bipedalism is the behavioral model presented by C. Owen Lovejoy, known as "male provisioning". Lovejoy theorizes that the evolution of bipedalism was linked to monogamy. In the face of long inter-birth intervals and low reproductive rates typical of the apes, early hominids engaged in pair-bonding that enabled greater parental effort directed towards rearing offspring. Lovejoy proposes that male provisioning of food would improve the offspring survivorship and increase the pair's reproductive rate. Thus the male would leave his mate and offspring to search for food and return carrying the food in his arms walking on his legs. This model is supported by the reduction ("feminization") of the male canine teeth in early hominids such as Sahelanthropus tchadensis and Ardipithecus ramidus, which along with low body size dimorphism in Ardipithecus and Australopithecus, suggests a reduction in inter-male antagonistic behavior in early hominids. In addition, this model is supported by a number of modern human traits associated with concealed ovulation (permanently enlarged breasts, lack of sexual swelling) and low sperm competition (moderate sized testes, low sperm mid-piece volume) that argues against recent adaptation to a polygynous reproductive system.

However, this model has generated some controversy, as others have argued that early bipedal hominids were instead polygynous. Among most monogamous primates, males and females are about the same size. That is sexual dimorphism is minimal, and other studies have suggested that Australopithecus afarensis males were nearly twice the weight of females. However, Lovejoy's model posits that the larger range a provisioning male would have to cover (to avoid competing with the female for resources she could attain herself) would select for increased male body size to limit predation risk. Furthermore, as the species became more bipedal, specialized feet would prevent the infant from conveniently clinging to the mother - hampering the mother's freedom[44] and thus make her and her offspring more dependent on resources collected by others. Modern monogamous primates such as gibbons tend to be also territorial, but fossil evidence indicates that Australopithecus afarensis lived in large groups. However, while both gibbons and hominids have reduced canine sexual dimorphism, female gibbons enlarge ('masculinize') their canines so they can actively share in the defense of their home territory. Instead, the reduction of the male hominid canine is consistent with reduced inter-male aggression in a group living primate.

Early bipedalism in homininae model

Recent studies of 4.4 million years old Ardipithecus ramidus suggest bipedalism, it is thus possible that bipedalism evolved very early in homininae and was reduced in chimpanzee and gorilla when they became more specialized. According to Richard Dawkins in his book "The Ancestor's Tale", chimps and bonobos are descended from Australopithecus gracile type species while gorillas are descended from Paranthropus. These apes may have once been bipedal, but then lost this ability when they were forced back into an arboreal habitat, presumably by those australopithecines who eventually became us (see Homininae). Early homininaes such as Ardipithecus ramidus may have possessed an arboreal type of bipedalism that later independently evolved towards knuckle-walking in chimpanzees and gorillas and towards efficient walking and running in modern humans (see figure). It is also proposed that one cause of Neanderthal extinction was a less efficient running.

Warning display (aposematic) model

Joseph Jordania from the University of Melbourne recently (2011) suggested that bipedalism was one of the central elements of the general defense strategy of early hominids, based on aposematism, or warning display and intimidation of potential predators and competitors with exaggerated visual and audio signals. According to this model, hominids were trying to stay as visible and as loud as possible all the time. Several morphological and behavioral developments were employed to achieve this goal: upright bipedal posture, longer legs, long tightly coiled hair on the top of the head, body painting, threatening synchronous body movements, loud voice and extremely loud rhythmic singing/stomping/drumming on external subjects. Slow locomotion and strong body odor (both characteristic for hominids and humans) are other features often employed by aposematic species to advertise their non-profitability for potential predators.

Other behavioural models

There are a variety of ideas which promote a specific change in behaviour as the key driver for the evolution of hominid bipedalism. For example, Wescott (1967) and later Jablonski & Chaplin (1993) suggest that bipedal threat displays could have been the transitional behaviour which led to some groups of apes beginning to adopt bipedal postures more often. Others (e.g. Dart 1925) have offered the idea that the need for more vigilance against predators could have provided the initial motivation. Dawkins (e.g. 2004) has argued that it could have begun as a kind of fashion that just caught on and then escalated through sexual selection. And it has even been suggested (e.g. Tanner 1981:165) that male phallic display could have been the initial incentive.

Thermoregulatory model

The thermoregulatory model explaining the origin of bipedalism is one of the simplest theories so far advanced, but it is a viable explanation. Dr. Peter Wheeler, a professor of evolutionary biology, proposes that bipedalism raises the amount of body surface area higher above the ground which results in a reduction in heat gain and helps heat dissipation. When a hominid is higher above the ground, the organism accesses more favorable wind speeds and temperatures. During heat seasons, greater wind flow results in a higher heat loss, which makes the organism more comfortable. Also, Wheeler explains that a vertical posture minimizes the direct exposure to the sun whereas quadrupedalism exposes more of the body to direct exposure. Analysis and interpretations of Ardipithecus reveal that this hypothesis needs modification to consider that the forest and woodland environmental preadaptation of early-stage hominid bipedalism preceded further refinement of bipedalism by the pressure of natural selection. This then allowed for the more efficient exploitation of the hotter conditions ecological niche, rather than the hotter conditions being hypothetically bipedalism's initial stimulus.

Carrying models

Charles Darwin wrote that "Man could not have attained his present dominant position in the world without the use of his hands, which are so admirably adapted to the act of obedience of his will" Darwin (1871:52) and many models on bipedal origins are based on this line of thought. Gordon Hewes (1961) suggested that the carrying of meat "over considerable distances" (Hewes 1961:689) was the key factor. Isaac (1978) and Sinclair et al. (1986) offered modifications of this idea as indeed did Lovejoy (1981) with his 'provisioning model' described above. Others, such as Nancy Tanner (1981) have suggested that infant carrying was key, whilst others have suggested stone tools and weapons drove the change.

Wading models

Several theories have been proposed regarding the influence of water on human bipedalism. The aquatic ape hypothesis, promoted for several decades by Elaine Morgan, proposed that swimming, diving and aquatic food sources exerted a strong influence on many aspects of human evolution, including bipedalism. It is not accepted by or considered a serious theory within the anthropological scholarly community. Others, however, cite bipedalism among a cluster of other adaptations unique among primates, including voluntary control of breathing, hairlessness, subcutaneous fat and several other traits that are difficult to explain with more conventional theories.

Other theories have been proposed that suggest wading and the exploitation of aquatic food sources (providing essential nutrients for human brain evolution or critical fallback foods) may have exerted evolutionary pressures on human ancestors promoting adaptations which later assisted full-time bipedalism.






Energy-efficient means of standing bipedally involve constant adjustment of balance, and of course these must avoid overcorrection. The difficulties associated with simple standing in upright humans are highlighted by the greatly increased risk of falling present in the elderly, even with minimal reductions in control system effectiveness.


Walking is characterized by an "inverted pendulum" movement in which the center of gravity vaults over a stiff leg with each step. Force plates can be used to quantify the whole-body kinetic & potential energy, with walking displaying an out-of-phase relationship indicating exchange between the two. Interestingly, this model applies to all walking organisms regardless of the number of legs, and thus bipedal locomotion does not differ in terms of whole-body kinetics.

In humans, walking is composed of several separate processes:

1. Vaulting over a stiff stance leg
2. Passive ballistic movement of the swing leg
3. A short 'push' from the ankle prior to toe-off, propelling the swing leg
4. Rotation of the hips about the axis of the spine, to increase stride length
5. Rotation of the hips about the horizontal axis to improve balance during stance.


Running is characterized by a spring-mass movement. Kinetic and potential energy are in phase, and the energy is stored & released from a spring-like limb during foot contact. Again, the whole-body kinetics are similar to animals with more limbs.







In robotics bipedalism raises the stakes with balance control being a necessary function if the robot is to emulate the human form. This may not be  necessary, but more of an aesthetic target, I know it was for me. Robots with all the advantages of bipeds can be built that avoid the need for intricate balance (which absorbs energy) with balance control being more for awareness and targeting.


For nearly the whole of the 20th century, bipedal robots were very difficult to construct and robot locomotion involved only wheels, treads, or multiple legs. Recent cheap and compact computing power has made two-legged robots more feasible. Some notable biped robots are ASIMO, HUBO and QRIO. Recently, spurred by the success of creating a fully passive, un-powered bipedal walking robot, those working on such machines have begun using principles gleaned from the study of human and animal locomotion, which often relies on passive mechanisms to minimize power consumption. Bipedal robots are becoming the most researched type of robots, with many universities innovating in this field of research; they are also becoming more and more mobile, with some of them being able to run.

Besides research into the development of humans, humanoid robots are being developed to perform human tasks like personal assistance, where they should be able to assist the sick and elderly, and dirty or dangerous jobs. Regular jobs like being a receptionist or a worker of an automotive manufacturing line are also suitable for humanoids. In essence, since they can use tools and operate equipment and vehicles designed for the human form, humanoids could theoretically perform any task a human being can, so long as they have the proper software. However, the complexity of doing so is deceptively great.

They are becoming increasingly popular for providing entertainment too. For example, Ursula, a female robot, sings, play music, dances, and speaks to her audiences at Universal Studios. Several Disney attractions employ the use of animatrons, robots that look, move, and speak much like human beings, in some of their theme park shows. These animatrons look so realistic that it can be hard to decipher from a distance whether or not they are actually human. Although they have a realistic look, they have no cognition or physical autonomy. Various humanoid robots and their possible applications in daily life are featured in an independent documentary film called Plug & Pray, which was released in 2010.

Humanoid robots, especially with artificial intelligence algorithms, could be useful for future dangerous and/or distant space exploration missions, without having the need to turn back around again and return to Earth once the mission is completed.





c. 250 BC

The Lie Zi described an automaton.

c. 50 AD

Greek mathematician Hero of Alexandria described a machine to automatically pour wine for party guests.


Al-Jazari described a band made up of humanoid automata which, according to Charles B. Fowler, performed "more than fifty facial and body actions during each musical selection." Al-Jazari also created hand washing automata with automatic humanoid servants and an elephant clock incorporating an automatic humanoid mahout striking a cymbal on the half-hour. His programmable "castle clock" also featured five musician automata which automatically played music when moved by levers operated by a hidden camshaft attached to a water wheel.


Leonardo da Vinci designs a humanoid automaton that looks like an armored knight, known as Leonardo's robot.


Jacques de Vaucanson builds The Flute Player, a life-size figure of a shepherd that could play twelve songs on the flute and The Tambourine Player that played a flute and a drum or tambourine.


Pierre Jacquet-Droz and his son Henri-Louis created the Draughtsman, the Musicienne and the Writer, a figure of a boy that could write messages up to 40 characters long.


Nikola Tesla publicly demonstrates his "automaton" technology by wirelessly controlling a model boat at the Electrical Exposition held at Madison Square Garden in New York City during the height of the Spanish–American War.


Czech writer Karel Čapek introduced the word "robot" in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots). The word "robot" comes from the word "robota", meaning, in Czech and Polish, "forced labour, drudgery".


The Maschinenmensch (“machine-human”), a gynoid humanoid robot, also called "Parody", "Futura", "Robotrix", or the "Maria impersonator" (played by German actress Brigitte Helm), perhaps the most memorable humanoid robot ever to appear on film, is depicted in Fritz Lang's film Metropolis.


Isaac Asimov formulates the Three Laws of Robotics, and in the process of doing so, coins the word "robotics".


Norbert Wiener formulates the principles of cybernetics, the basis of practical robotics.


The first digitally operated and programmable non-humanoid robot, the Unimate, is installed on a General Motors assembly line to lift hot pieces of metal from a die casting machine and stack them. It was created by George Devol and constructed by Unimation, the first robot manufacturing company.


D.E. Whitney publishes his article "Resolved motion rate control of manipulators and human prosthesis".


Miomir Vukobratović has proposed Zero Moment Point, a theoretical model to explain biped locomotion.


Miomir Vukobratović and his associates at Mihajlo Pupin Institute build the first active anthropomorphic exoskeleton.


In Waseda University, in Tokyo, Wabot-1 is built. It was able to walk, to communicate with a person in Japanese and to measure distances and directions to the objects using external receptors, artificial ears and eyes, and an artificial mouth.


Marc Raibert established the MIT Leg Lab, which is dedicated to studying legged locomotion and building dynamic legged robots.


Using MB Associates arms, "Greenman" was developed by Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego. It had an exoskeletal master controller with kinematic equivalency and spatial correspondence of the torso, arms, and head. Its vision system consisted of two 525-line video cameras each having a 35-degree field of view and video camera eyepiece monitors mounted in an aviator's helmet.


At Waseda University, the Wabot-2 is created, a musician humanoid robot able to communicate with a person, read a normal musical score with his eyes and play tunes of average difficulty on an electronic organ.


Developed by Hitachi Ltd, WHL-11 is a biped robot capable of static walking on a flat surface at 13 seconds per step and it can also turn.


WASUBOT is another musician robot from Waseda University. It performed a concerto with the NHK Symphony Orchestra at the opening ceremony of the International Science and Technology Exposition.


Honda developed seven biped robots which were designated E0 (Experimental Model 0) through E6. E0 was in 1986, E1 – E3 were done between 1987 and 1991, and E4 - E6 were done between 1991 and 1993.


Manny was a full-scale anthropomorphic robot with 42 degrees of freedom developed at Battelle's Pacific Northwest Laboratories in Richland, Washington, for the US Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. It could not walk on its own but it could crawl, and had an artificial respiratory system to simulate breathing and sweating.


Tad McGeer showed that a biped mechanical structure with knees could walk passively down a sloping surface.


Honda developed P1 (Prototype Model 1) through P3, an evolution from E series, with upper limbs. Developed until 1997.


Hadaly was developed in Waseda University to study human-robot communication and has three subsystems: a head-eye subsystem, a voice control system for listening and speaking in Japanese, and a motion-control subsystem to use the arms to point toward campus destinations.


Wabian is a human-size biped walking robot from Waseda University.


Saika, a light-weight, human-size and low-cost humanoid robot, was developed at Tokyo University. Saika has a two-DOF neck, dual five-DOF upper arms, a torso and a head. Several types of hands and forearms are under development also. Developed until 1998.


Hadaly-2, developed at Waseda University, is a humanoid robot which realizes interactive communication with humans. It communicates not only informationally, but also physically.


Honda creates its 11th bipedal humanoid robot, able to run, ASIMO.


Sony unveils small humanoid entertainment robots, dubbed Sony Dream Robot (SDR). Renamed Qrio in 2003.


Fujitsu realized its first commercial humanoid robot named HOAP-1. Its successors HOAP-2 and HOAP-3 were announced in 2003 and 2005, respectively. HOAP is designed for a broad range of applications for R&D of robot technologies.


HRP-2, biped walking robot built by the Manufacturing Science and Technology Center (MSTC) in Tokyo.


JOHNNIE, an autonomous biped walking robot built at the Technical University of Munich. The main objective was to realize an anthropomorphic walking machine with a human-like, dynamically stable gait 


Actroid, a robot with realistic silicone "skin" developed by Osaka University in conjunction with Kokoro Company Ltd.


Persia, Iran's first humanoid robot, was developed using realistic simulation by researchers of Isfahan University of Technology in conjunction with ISTT.


KHR-1, a programmable bipedal humanoid robot introduced in June 2004 by a Japanese company Kondo Kagaku.


The PKD Android, a conversational humanoid robot made in the likeness of science fiction novelist Philip K Dick, was developed as a collaboration between Hanson Robotics, the FedEx Institute of Technology, and the University of Memphis.


Wakamaru, a Japanese domestic robot made by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, primarily intended to provide companionship to elderly and disabled people.


Nao is a small open source programmable humanoid robot developed by Aldebaran Robotics, in France. Widely used by world wide universities as a research platform and educational tool.


The Geminoid series is a series of ultra-realistic humanoid robots or Actroid developed by Hiroshi Ishiguro of ATR and Kokoro in Tokyo. The original one, Geminoid HI-1 was made at its image. Followed Geminoid-F in 2010 and Geminoid-DK in 2011.


RoboTurk is designed and realized by Dr Davut Akdas and Dr Sabri Bicakci at Balikesir University. This Research Project Sponsored By The Scientific And Technological Research Council Of Turkey (TUBITAK) in 2006. RoboTurk is successor of biped robots named "Salford Lady" and "Gonzalez" at university of Salford in the UK. It is the first humanoid robot supported by Turkish Government.


REEM-A, a biped humanoid robot designed to play chess with the Hydra Chess engine. The first robot developed by PAL Robotics, it was also used as a walking, manipulation speech and vision development platform.


iCub, a biped humanoid open source robot for cognition research.


Mahru, a network-based biped humanoid robot developed in South Korea.


TOPIO, a ping pong playing robot developed by TOSY Robotics JSC.


Twendy-One, a robot developed by the WASEDA University Sugano Laboratory for home assistance services. It is not biped, as it uses an omni-directional mobile mechanism.


Justin, a humanoid robot developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).


KT-X, the first international humanoid robot developed as a collaboration between the five-time consecutive RoboCup champions, Team Osaka, and KumoTek Robotics.


Nexi, the first mobile, dexterous and social robot, makes its public debut as one of TIME magazine's top inventions of the year. The robot was built through a collaboration between the MIT Media Lab Personal Robots Group, UMass Amherst and Meka robotics.


Salvius (robot), The first open source humanoid robot built in the United States is created.


REEM-B, the second biped humanoid robot developed by PAL Robotics. It has the ability to autonomously learn its environment using various sensors and carry 20% of its own weight.


HRP-4C, a Japanese domestic robot made by National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, shows human characteristics in addition to bipedal walking.


Turkey's first dynamically walking humanoid robot, SURALP, is developed by Sabanci University in conjunction with Tubitak.


Kobian, a robot developed by WASEDA University can walk, talk and mimic emotions.


NASA and General Motors revealed Robonaut 2, a very advanced humanoid robot. It was part of the payload of Shuttle Discovery on the successful launch February 24, 2011. It is intended to do spacewalks for NASA.


Students at the University of Tehran, Iran unveil the Surena II. It was unveiled by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


Researchers at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology demonstrate their humanoid robot HRP-4C singing and dancing along with human dancers.


In September the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology also demonstrates the humanoid robot HRP-4. The HRP-4 resembles the HRP-4C in some regards but is called "athletic" and is not a gynoid.


REEM, a humanoid service robot with a wheeled mobile base. Developed by PAL Robotics, it can perform autonomous navigation in various surroundings and has voice and face recognition capabilities.


In November Honda unveiled its second generation Honda Asimo Robot. The all new Asimo is the first version of the robot with semi-autonomous capabilities.


In April, the Advanced Robotics Department in Italian Institute of Technology released its first version of the COmpliant huMANoid robot COMAN which is designed for robust dynamic walking and balancing in rough terrain.


In December 20–21, 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge ranked the top 16 humanoid robots competing for the $2 million cash prize. The leading team, SCHAFT, with 27 out of a possible score of 30 was bought by Google. PAL Robotics launches REEM-C the first humanoid biped robot developed as a robotics research platform 100% ROS based.




Bipedal robot based on a velociraptor 

The Raptor, a bipedal robot that can run extremely fast but is not yet self-contained (stand alone). Regardless, it is a step (or two) in the right direction.





Raptor is a bipedal robot which was designed and conceived in 2014 by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). It has a top speed of 28.58 miles per hour, making it the second fastest robot after the Cheeath, and the fastest bipedal robot worldwide. Designers at the KAIST took their inspiration from the Velociraptor, a bipedal dinosaur which balances itself with its tail. The robot moves itself with a pair of carbon-fibre blade legs. And it's fast. Running on its two legs, the Raptor has been clocked in at 46kph (28.5mPH) on a treadmill. That's faster than Usain Bolt, the fastest known human, whose recorded top speed is 44.72 kph (27.44 mph).












Biological Cybernetics/Theoretical Biology

Poly-pedal Laboratory at Berkeley

Hexapod project at the University of Applied Sciences of UA at Hagenberg



Bluebird Marine Systems' autonomous robotic ship design. A truly autonomous robot intended to replace battleships and submarines, to keep the peace at sea via persistent monitoring and where necessary, drone control of weapon systems.





ACORE - American Council on Renewable Energy

ASV Global - C-Worker unmanned surface vessel for safer offshore surveys

AUTONAUT - MOST (Autonomous Vessels) Limited - wave propelled system

AUVSI - ROBOBOATS - Association for Unmanned  Vehicle Systems International

ARDUINO - Hobbyists computer platform for interactive robots and machine prototyping - Open source

ARM Holdings Plc

BAE Systems - Maritime, Naval ships and submarines

BEAGLEBONE - ARM low cost robot friendly, low drain micro computer

BLUEBIRD - Electronics - 

BLUEFIN Robotics

BLUEFISH ZCC - Bluebird Marine Systems' autonomous unmanned fleet development program

BLUE OCEAN - Rolls Royce autonomous cargo vessels project

Captain Kidd's robot sailboat project - Microtransat

CDE - Centre for Defence Enterprise

CMTI - Centre for Maritime Technology and Innovation - Autonomous Study

DARPA - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - Autonomous ROV/UUV ASV ZZCs

DOLPHIN - Quicksilver Controls, special effects robot for filming 'Dolphin Tale' movie about Winter the dolphin amputee

DSTL - Defence Science & Technology Laboratory

ESPANDON - Swordfish, SLAMF, future mine countermeasures program

FishPi - An autonomous boat project to prove Raspberry computer capability for navigation of a vessel for long distances.


General Dynamics - Anti submarine warfare USVs

Helicopter Drones - Miniature flying machines using open source code

HORIZON 2020 - Patent (PCTIB2010055929) Italian ecological propulsion system POD ref: TOIT20130916002 

INDAGATUS - Small endurance UMV platform

INDIEGOGO - Open Hand Project, 3D printed robotic low cost prosthetics

KABUTOM RX3 - Giant robot beetle from Japan, built by Hitoshi Takahashi

Kickstarter - Robotboat MK VI autonomous oceanographic wing sailor project

Kickstarter - Scout Transatlantic - Microtransat autonomous solar powered trans Atlantic crossing robot project 2013

Kickstarter - Stompy, a US project to build a giant ride on hexapod vehicle

LEGO - Mindstorms education robotic invention system, brick computer

LEMUSV - Long Endurance Marine Unmanned Surface Vessel

LIQUID ROBOTICS - Wave Glider autonomous surface vessels

Maritime Robotics - Mariner USV

MAST - Maritime Sense & Avoidance Systems for unmanned vessels

MASTT - Royal Navy purchases Seebyte smart software for their autonomous underwater trials Sept 2013

MBED - ARM based microcontroller developer platform

Microtransat - Competition for autonomous sailing models

MIT Cambridge University - Controlling Drone with Mobile Phone

MONALISA - Motorways of the Sea, eco-efficient e-navigation solutions contribution to safe maritime transport

MOST - Autonomous Vessel Limited - Autonaut USV

MUNIN - Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks & E-Nav International 7th Framework

NAMOS - Networked Aqautic Microbial Observation System using marine robots

NAVSEA - Naval Surface Warfare Center - Shipboard energy conservation

NERC - UK National Environment Research Council

NOC - UK National Oceanographic Centre

PICAXE - Microcontroller for robotics projects with open source software support

PREDATOR - Robotic submarine hunter-killer

OpenROV - Open source underwater robots for exploration and education.

OPTICAL RECOGNITION - Latest developments for machine object avoidance

Queen's University Belfast - Engineering & Physical Research Council COLREGs & unmanned maritime systems

RASPBERRY PI - Low cost educational computer to learn how to program robots, etc. Open source

RAYTHEON - Sonar anti-submarine detection equipment

Roboboats - Autonomous Surface Boats competition, ASVs

Robosubs - Autonomous Underwater Vessel competition AUVs

SARUMS - Safety and Regulations for European Unmanned Maritime Systems

SBRI - Small Business Research Initiative

Sea Robotics - Unmanned systems

Slocum sea glider - Doug Webb & Henry Stommel

Snoopy Sloop - Robin Lovelock's robot sailing boat: Microtransat Trans-Atlantic competition

SPOT - Satellite global tracking system

TSB - Technology Strategy Board

UK MAS - UK Maritime Autonomous Systems

UNDERWATER - Search & salvage - Federal Business Opportunities

USNA - Roboboat competition team 2011 & 2012

University of Newcastle

SOTON - University of Southampton - 

University Western Australia - USAL robot sub

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution - ABE lost at sea

ZYCRAFT - Vigilant unmanned endurance vessel - Anti submarine warfare





AUTONOMOUS SOLUTIONS INC - Mobius™ vehicle command and control system and Guideline™ robotic convoys

14 in 1 SOLAR ROBOT KIT - A solar powered robot kit for ages 10+


BIROB CHEETAH EPFL - Claimed to be the fastest quadruped robot cat @ June 2013


DARPA - Autonomous land vehicle - Red Bull

GIGANTOR & GUNDAM - Giant robot statues, Kobe and Tokyo, Japan

GOOGLE - Autonomous robotic cars unveiled May 2014


HUMANOID - University of Aalborg bipedal robot project

MANTIS - Giant hydraulic hexapod powered by 2 liter diesel engine - completed UK project



ROBOBEE - Harvard microbiotics laboratory project



STOMPY - Giant hydraulic hexapod powered by fork lift truck IC gas engine


VISLAB - Autonomous car controls, vision (camera & laser) based object recognition system




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