The von Kármán Lecture Series: 2010

Humanlike Robots: The Realization of the Science Fiction

Humanlike Robots: The Realization of the Science Fiction of Synthetic Humans

Feb. 18 & 19

Humans have always sought to imitate in art and technology the appearance, functions and intelligence of humans. For many years, making humanlike robots was considered science fiction, but as a result of significant advances in biologically inspired technologies, such robots are increasingly becoming an engineering reality. These technologies include artificial intelligence, artificial vision and hearing as well as artificial muscles. There are already humanlike robots that walk, talk, interpret speech, make eye-contact and facial expressions, and perform many other humanlike functions. For space exploration, the application of such robotic technologies has been limited so far to manipulator arms and an ongoing development at JPL of legged rovers. However, humanlike robots can immensely increase what can be accomplished and the public excitement of future NASA missions where human capabilities will be applied without the risk to real humans. As science fiction books and movies suggest, in contrast to other human-made machines and devices this technology raises various concerns that need to be addressed before they start entering into our daily life. In this lecture, the state-of-the-art of humanlike robots, potential applications and challenges will be reviewed.

Image credit: copyright © 2010 Adi Marom
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Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen
Senior Research Scientist and Group Supervisor
Advanced Technologies and NDEAA Lab


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