New World. ICub, The Small European Humanoid Robot
|New World. ICub, The Small European Humanoid Robot|
Researcher Serena Ivaldi, from INRIA Nancy, is working on the iCub European robot project.
When was the first robot dating from?
Serena Ivaldi: There was already talk of robot in 400 BC. They were wooden automata birds moved by steam. Then there was Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanized knight. The “real” robots appeared in the 20th century.
What does iCub look like? What is it used for ?
Serena Ivaldi: iCub is a small humanoid robot that has the appearance of a four year old child. It is the result of a European research project launched in 2004. iCub has evolved a lot. Today, he is covered with an artificial skin that allows him to detect contacts. It is also equipped with force and leg sensors. He can actually walk, which is a technical feat. It has hands each numbering nine engines which were very difficult to miniaturize. iCub is a research platform that allows us to test technologies. The algorithms we are developing can be transposed into industrial robots.
Do robots have to look like humans?
Serena Ivaldi: It all depends on the application. If it’s to carry loads, no need for a humanoid aspect. On the other hand, for interaction with humans, studies have shown that the humanoid allure promotes interaction.
When is a humanoid robot at home?
Serena Ivaldi: Not for several decades! There are still several technological challenges to overcome before we can have domestic humanoid robots truly capable of making themselves useful.
All summer long, Jérôme Colombain deciphers the major digital innovations with researchers from INRIA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation