Humanoid robotics is an emerging and challenging research field, which has received significant attention during the past decade and will continue to play a central role in robotics research. Regardless of the application area, one of the common problems tackled in humanoid robotics is the understanding of human-like information processing and the underlying mechanisms of the human brain in dealing with the real world.
Considerable progress has been made in humanoid research resulting in a number of anthropomorphic robots able to move and perform complex tasks. Over the past decade in humanoid research, an encouraging spectrum of science and technology has emerged leading to the development of highly advanced humanoid mechatronic systems endowed with rich and complex sensorimotor capabilities. These include ASIMO, HRP-2, HRP-4C, Toyota’s partner robot, DB, CB, ARMAR, iCub, NAO, DARwIn-OP, WABIAN, KOBIAN, Twendy-One, HUBO, Justin, Lola, REEM, Robonaut-R2, Petman and PR2 to name a few. Of major importance for advances of the field is the availability of reproducible humanoid robots systems (HRP-2, HUBO, iCub), which have been used as common hardware and software platforms to support humanoid robotics research.
Ambitious goals have been set for future humanoid robots. They are expected to serve as companions and assistants for humans in daily life and as ultimate helpers in the case of natural disasters. The RoboCup robot soccer organization has also set a goal that in 2050, a team of humanoid robot soccer players shall compete and win against the winner of the most recent World Cup. In 2012, DARPA announced the next Grand Challenge in robotics: building robots which do things like humans in a world made for humans, with a focus on disaster recovery challenge tasks.
Priority areas for the technical committee include:
- Novel materials, devices, mechanisms, energy systems for humanoids
- Principles and technologies for anthropomorphic/bionic design and control
- Whole-body dynamics, control, sensing, informatics
- Software and hardware architecture, system integration
- Teleoperation, tele-experience, tele-presence using humanoids
- Measuring, modeling and simulating humans
- Human and humanoid skills/cognition/interaction
- Humanoid locomotion, manipulation, perception, planning
- Humanoids for human science and engineering
- Adaptation, learning and cognitive development of humanoids
- Neuro-robotics and brain-robot interfaces for humanoids and humans
- Cyborgs, prostheses, assistive devices and sensor/motor suits
- Applications: home, field, space, social, industrial, medical, health/mental care, art/entertainment, education
- Social interaction and acceptability
- Grand challenges, competitions, outreach
- Superhuman humanoids / future humanoids (possibility, technology and meaning)
- Humanoid ethics and philosophy