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August 12, 2009 Permalink

More Robots

Scientists, students and corporations continue their work around the world in the field of robotics, persistently improving and redefining their capabilities, interfaces and roles in society. Unmanned vehicles fly above war zones, telerobotics give humans a broader virtual presence and humanoid robots gain more parity with humans, refining their movements and responses. Collected here are a handful of recent photographs of robotics in use around the world. [Previously on TBP: Robots] (36 photos total)

Picture of the iCub robot taken on July 1, 2009 during a presentation at the Bron research institute near Lyon, France, part of an EU-funded Robot Cub project. The iCub robots are about the size of three-year-old children, with highly dexterous hands and fully articulated heads and eyes. They have hearing and touch capabilities and are designed to be able to crawl on all fours and to sit up. (FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
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121 comments so far...


Posted by Anonymous August 12, 09 12:23 PM

Interesting to see the two very different paths robot design is taking. One attempts to mimic the functionality of the human body in appearance and function. The other focuses on task specific duties without regard to shape.
While advanced by today's standards, the tech is still in it's infancy. Wondrous things to come.
As always, great and provocative shots.

Posted by K. Thomas Murphy August 12, 09 12:25 PM

This has to stop - the robot uprising is getting closer everyday.........

Posted by John Connor August 12, 09 12:28 PM

This shots kinda scare me.

Posted by Ben Fredericson August 12, 09 12:29 PM

#8 is a great example of why we need healthcare reform. They've built a robot that simulates a human, with a screen and a camera, so the doctor doesn't have to drive TWENTY MILES to visit the patient in person. Unbelievable.

Posted by jon August 12, 09 12:30 PM

Robots from all around the world. Guess a robot design indicate a nation thought.

Posted by Terminator August 12, 09 12:36 PM

With all these robots, we need a set of rules to govern them. Three should suffice.

Posted by This guy August 12, 09 12:36 PM

I love #21 -- it's a reference to Johnny Five (who, by the way, is alive)

Posted by Nick August 12, 09 12:37 PM

@jon, Twenty miles isn't much, but how about deploying that robot to the Appalachian mountain areas where doctors are hours away, or Africa? Don't be so short sighted.

Posted by Lance August 12, 09 12:43 PM

I'm 63 years old and I was amazed when my car talked to me!

Posted by Carolyn August 12, 09 12:48 PM

I will be back !

Posted by T2 August 12, 09 12:48 PM

Wait a second, #28! Since when could they do that?

Posted by Chris Ing August 12, 09 12:59 PM

Impressionant... the future stay here!

Posted by Branca Stuart August 12, 09 01:05 PM

Why did you show humanoid robots or pictures from robocup only? The vast majority of robots currently in use are those orange one-armed welding-/handling-/painting-/do-everything-robots as used in the automobile industry.


Posted by Tobi August 12, 09 01:05 PM

Thanks for the pictures, very interesting. For some reason, I think that the robot in picture # 5 is scarier than the fully armed, ready to rock n’ roll robot in picture # 30.

Posted by raul briseno August 12, 09 01:08 PM

#27 is proof that the robots are trying to brainwash us and take over.
Now, that may not be all bad, if they have cute chick robots like #5 and #23. Maybe they can figure out this health care thing.

Posted by Dr. Rob August 12, 09 01:16 PM

This is just like one of my Japanese animes!

Posted by Otacon August 12, 09 01:18 PM

The Uncanny Valley strikes again.

Posted by MarkH August 12, 09 01:29 PM

simply awesome!!

Posted by DKumar M. August 12, 09 02:03 PM

#28 - Pretty amazing, uh?
Great shots, however I think there is one great robot missing here. It is a robo-suit, actually an exoskeleton which you can "wear" and it increases your strenght something like 5 times. Check "Japanese exoskeleton" or "cyborg farmer" on the web.
That robot moves together with your body by reading the electric impulses our brain sends.
Scary? Great? Science fiction? You tell me...

Posted by Jorge August 12, 09 02:24 PM

For all of you rightly concerned with the unwelcome use of armed robotics, I recommend reading Daniel H. Wilson's 'How to Survive a Robot Uprising.'

While only preliminary and hidden behind a veil of humour, it gives some interesting generic information to frustrate the deployment of robots.

It is unlikely that robots will take nefarious acts against humans of their own will in the course of the next ten years, but their creators have shown little restraint towards the use of violence. Be wary of 'unmanned' abuse and other remote destruction.

Posted by Maybaum August 12, 09 02:38 PM

simply f*cked up!
half of them are for military use - the others eat sushi and play football!

great indeed! NOT

Posted by critique August 12, 09 02:52 PM

Re: Pic #30

Time to read Bill Joy's column once again.

'Why the future doesn't need us'

Time to demand accountability from the firms that develop semi-autonomous killing machines. How can these guys possibly sleep at night?!

Posted by Dominic Harm August 12, 09 02:53 PM

Very impressive, the most being #28 i had no idea that was possible! incredible.

Sadly too many are for war.

Posted by Ernesto Tantao August 12, 09 02:56 PM

I, for one, welcome our new Cylon overlords!

Posted by Itkovian August 12, 09 03:16 PM

Battlestar Galactica is a good show to watch. and robots will soon be the new iphone.

Posted by starbuck August 12, 09 03:20 PM

will someone please photoshop #18 and put a scanning cylon eye into it?

Posted by Brian August 12, 09 03:24 PM

@jon: There are extreme examples, such as that posted by Lance, but even the actual use in #8 is amazing. Those particular 20 miles referenced in #8 take about 30 minutes to drive. Assuming the doctor has to drive 30 minutes to see each patient, think about how many more patients he can see and how much more efficient he can be by eliminating that lost time.

Posted by jesse August 12, 09 03:59 PM

Critique: The reason that people design robots to do things like pick up sushi and play football is that these tasks are complex and make good benchmarks. What you learn while trying to create a robot that can play football can then be applied to robots designed for more practical tasks. You seem to have missed the point of the majority of these bots - they aren't designed to be immediately useful, they're designed to test and expand the limits of the technology.

Even picking up an object is very complicated, which designers of prosthetic limbs can tell you.

Posted by Katherine August 12, 09 04:19 PM

Is that Daft Punk robot head in center front of photo number 9?

Posted by KLP August 12, 09 04:26 PM

The EATR sniper robot is missing!! If ppl really want to freak out you definetely need to look out for that one! O.O

Posted by Phallus Nocturne August 12, 09 04:35 PM

#25 is disgusting

Basically you have the head of an insect embedded in a metal skeleton and it just maneuvers it with its neurones.

Awfully scary.

Posted by Gabriel from France August 12, 09 05:08 PM

Where are the american robots???

Posted by dug August 12, 09 05:21 PM

Al hail the new robot overlords. Cant wait to see what Skynet scrapes together ;)

Posted by madrox August 12, 09 05:54 PM

@29 Good point. We are a very long way away from the day that a robot could feasibly and economically replace a cook or a housekeeper - a robot performing these "simple" tasks are simply a proof of concept.

#23 freaks me out, especially given the recent NYTimes article about grown Japanese men who "date" pillows with cartoon images of prepubesecent girls on them.

Posted by Sasha August 12, 09 07:47 PM

Note that most of these these are some of the more interesting, photogenic, weirdest robots. Lots of robots are a bit more practical, and a bit more down to earth and boring.

#33 dug: The American robots are out there doing useful stuff, rather than looking shiny or cute in photographs (except the military robots that are in the photographs looking tough).

Posted by fool August 12, 09 08:21 PM

Can't you all see? #9 is a sign! Judgment day is coming!!!

Posted by Yusuf August 12, 09 09:36 PM

Very nice!!

Love this pictures.

Posted by Carlos López August 12, 09 10:15 PM

wow, with all the problems in the world and there's all this investment in robots that look hot and play football. sure, maybe it'll "expand" the technological limits, but i can't see how it will solve poverty, hunger, and environmental problems. someone enlighten me bc it seems our priorities are f*cked. looks like the world of Wall-E will soon be a reality

Posted by paranoidandroid August 12, 09 10:26 PM

Fantastic display of robotic technologies around the work .

Posted by balaji August 12, 09 10:54 PM

I don't know if this just happened by chance or not, but it kinda peeves me that all of the robots shown by US makers or in use by US persons are for the purpose of war. Every other robot had some other purpose, mostly for entertainment. Of course leave it to the US to take something that most of the other countries are using for entertainment/medical uses and turn it into a war machine.

Posted by Eric H. August 12, 09 10:58 PM

I also get sacared, specially when I see shiny white plastic japanese robots. I guess I'm gonna sharp my axe.

Posted by Rouathen Amelaoux August 12, 09 11:00 PM

Some of these robots, seem silly. However, remember how "silly" early airplanes looked a little over a 100 years ago? In just a short time, these silly robots will will be a thing of the past that our grand children will giggle at these pictures and roll their eyes. Of course, they may cry at the sight of these pictures if the Terminator scenario happens. Who knows???

Posted by Mike TheHuman August 12, 09 11:08 PM

Now I have think about joining John Connor's army... LoL

Posted by b-OBBY August 13, 09 01:07 AM

Can a robot dance like MJ?

Posted by Jason August 13, 09 01:50 AM

I notice that Asimov's three laws of robotics are nowhere in evidence. ....yet.
Presumably, some disaster will have to occur for people to insist on the laws.

I don't suppose I need to recite them for this audience.

Posted by Rhodes Hileman August 13, 09 02:15 AM

You are wellcome Robots... Folks? Kill him...

Posted by michael August 13, 09 03:28 AM

one day i hope my fears are obsolete.beeing a human.once.

Posted by max August 13, 09 03:43 AM

Great to see all of these robots contribute to things in life that are truly important; love, health and inner peace.

Posted by Martijn Lafeber August 13, 09 03:56 AM

Very nice pictures, I have to say. There is also a flickr group from the RoboCup 2009 in Graz:

Best from Germany

Posted by orkomedix August 13, 09 04:16 AM

Number 36's face has more character than the dolly-looking ones previously. If I didn't have my glasses on I'd almost think 36 was a person. :)

Some of these don't really feel like robots to me, unless I misunderstood some of the mechanisms involved, say, in the rescue claw thing.

Posted by Strange Bundle August 13, 09 04:22 AM

the future is here ( or at least in Asia). Prepare yourselves, the world is changing.

Posted by Anonymous August 13, 09 04:38 AM

About #1: there is no "Bron research institute" - or there are many of them.
Bron is the scientific / research town of the Lyon area with universities, engineering & medical schools, many labs, etc.
The research team working on the iCub in Bron is the Robot Cognition Laboratory of the INSERM (=National Institute for Health and Medical Research) and Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University.

Posted by anna.elizabeth August 13, 09 05:17 AM

Only a matter of time until Skynet becomes self-aware.

Posted by Vlad August 13, 09 08:04 AM

The word "robot" is used so generically. Almost none of these are "robots" the way asimov etc talked about robots. There are three categories represented here:

1. Remote controlled machines. Like the IED robot, the hyper-rescue robot, the doctor in a box, etc.

2. Rote performer machines. A factory robot performs the same actions with no sensory input. Other machines take sensory input, compute action based on algoithm and perform action. No idea of learning or an open decision tree.

3. Robots. Maybe some of the football playing robots could learn, modify their learning based on outcome, modify their actions based on feeback through the acting "limbs" etc... the things that make us human, or at least animal.

Posted by zume August 13, 09 09:04 AM

Dug (comment 33): American robots are well represented here:

#3 for the study of marine biology
#4 for death
#6 for manufacture
#8 for death
#9 for entertaining death
#16 for death
#18 for death
#24 for death
#30 for death

See, we're very well represented.

Posted by Alex August 13, 09 09:12 AM

I agree with Alex # 56. Its a sad reflection of what the U.S. has become that our technology is devoted to killing. Dwight Eisenhower's fears of the military-industrial complex realized.

Posted by Cal Gold August 13, 09 10:14 AM

The little guys in #14 look awfully frightened by the camera. :)

Posted by Nic August 13, 09 10:51 AM

Alex, I sort of imagined that bomb disposal robots are intended for the opposite of death, but I might be weird like that.

Posted by Zibblsnrt August 13, 09 11:59 AM

The rise of the machines is coming and it s coming fast...
We have to start preparing the Resistance...

Posted by Sarah Connor August 13, 09 12:18 PM

#28 Can they really do that??? This pic reminds me Back to the Future scene when Dr. Brown first met Marty back in the 50's with the "mind reading" device. On the other hand, these technologies are scarely exciting! Great pics as usual!

Posted by Rodrigo August 13, 09 12:41 PM

I've come to realize human kind is motivated by only two things: self preservation and lazyness. People want to live forever, sitting on their asses. We might even have a female slave and kill whoever goes against this utopia as a bonus.

#25 is awesome! The guy is SO lazy he even jumped the decision making part of robotics and replaced it with a natural implementation! It's like putting a human arm on a surgeon robot. Say, why don't we pick a whole human then, and have it do all the things we don't want to? Oh, wait, that's not robotics, that's underpayment.

Posted by Cesar August 13, 09 01:14 PM

Robots will operate the world :)

Posted by [AxL] August 13, 09 01:27 PM

They will serve us, and the equality among humans will prevail

Posted by Menina Pastora August 13, 09 01:48 PM

#56 is sad, but not true.

The only robot that I was really saddened by was #30. Diffusing bombs != death. But mounting guns on a robot is terrible.

Posted by Michel August 13, 09 01:50 PM

Ok, so when do we start seeing a sexbot?

Posted by OneTrackMind August 13, 09 02:12 PM

Zibblsnrt, your imagination is to commended. Unfortunately the altruistic use of bomb disposal robots cannot supplant the facts: the U.S. spends more on military technology (i.e., bombs, shells, explosives) & has exported more weaponry than any other nation.

Posted by Alex August 13, 09 02:32 PM
Posted by anonimo August 13, 09 04:26 PM

#23 looks really cute ;), if i saw the photo and don't know that it's/she's a robot, i easily take her for a real girl
#30 is scary, reminds me of terminator or robocop "you have ten seconds to drop your gun, 9, 8, 7 ...."
But why US made warbots and japanase friendly or useful bots ?

Posted by Gabriel August 13, 09 05:13 PM

Just goes to show
The more human like a robot is
the more useless it is.

Posted by Caden August 13, 09 10:54 PM


Posted by eunice August 14, 09 01:30 AM

Are you Sarah Conner? (I'm just saying)

Posted by anon August 14, 09 02:15 AM

Those of you too ignorant to open your eyes and see things from another point of view, need enlightenment. Not all military robots carry weapons or kill people. As an EOD tech, my life has been saved numerous times by the same robots that you see in pictures 4, 16, and 24 above. We use them to disarm the bombs that have been placed by narrow minded people who are trying to kill us in war AND at home.

Posted by George August 14, 09 02:46 AM

I am a member of Robocup team which we participated in Graz 2009 in middle size league . Is any body knows a university in U.S which is interested in this field so I can grant scholarship from them? it will be appreciated if some one could help me. in case please contact:

Posted by S.moein August 14, 09 03:17 AM

ironically i don't find the robots that look like people threatening, and i don't find the robots that remove some level of personal interaction to be damaging to society (like number 8).

But number 25's description sounds kinda scary to me. not because the technical achievement of using the head of a silk moth to control a robot is particularly perverse to me, but because i don't think robots should be involved with justice. I don't know why i feel this way. CCTV's that identify people automatically are not really any different. but for some reason 25's description seems wrong to me.

Posted by harshpotatoes August 14, 09 04:24 AM

I find #23 downright creepy. Looks like it has the hands of 40 year old man with the face of a 9 year old girl. Where's their sense of proportion I wonder. Leonardo must be tossing in his grave!

Posted by 0blivi0n August 14, 09 04:42 AM

Nice! Gives a nice overview of state-of-the-art in Robotics development. The promise has been prevailing since many years, but what will come remains to be seen. Final thoughts, still some decades to go until we have Robots that can take rational decisions..

Posted by Amol Deshmukh August 14, 09 07:23 AM

photo #23: i'd totaly hit that :)

Posted by DeNostrechat August 14, 09 07:27 AM

I like the one named Asimo. XD
Is it /really/ such a good idea to name a robot after Asimov?

But those are some really cool robots. =D

Posted by Janan August 14, 09 08:04 AM

More evidence of the growing takeover. Humans prepare for the final battle versus machines.

Posted by skynet August 14, 09 10:04 AM

C'mon, where're the Guts? Where's the sense of Adventure?

Hook up #25 to #27 or better still #30 !!!

...and let the FUN begin!!!

Posted by Jake the Snake August 14, 09 01:07 PM

People please read number 29's comment!
They are not supposed to be very useful, they are helping us to solve technological issues.
Picking up sushi is not useful but it will allow us to design Robots that can pickup stuff without crushing or dropping them.

@39: How about a robot that automatically handles a farm by itself were people have a hard time working? how about more energy efficient motors that we'll help us with energy crisis and environmental issues.

Posted by Ice August 14, 09 02:20 PM


Posted by Bogdan August 14, 09 03:17 PM

The unspoken but often thought about robot (and I'm positive is being worked on with great effort) will be the aaaahmmm "intimate partner robot". It will be the real money maker.

Posted by Bones August 14, 09 04:20 PM

I love you John Connor... I'd kick robot arse with you anytime...

Posted by Jay August 14, 09 04:28 PM

George (comment 73): I thank you for opening my eyes. Prior to your enlightening words, my narrow minded point of view was that every robot used by the military carried weapons AND killed people. Even the unarmed bomb disposal units shown above.

I also want to thank you for helping me realize those units are for disarming their bombs and not ours. It fills me with relief knowing the Indochinese Peninsula will continue to benefit from our unexploded munitions. It serves them right for trying to kill us in war and at home.

Posted by Alex August 14, 09 09:44 PM

You are quite welcome Alex, it sounds like you needed to learn a little something about the world. As far as the munitions go, the robots above are not usually used for that. Those UXOs are disposed of by hand by people like me. What have you done today?

Posted by George August 15, 09 01:04 AM

The AI to run these non-robot remotely operated machines is nearly here.

Scientists have demonstrated AI systems that learn instantly to walk. Once the hardware is here (multiprocessors are the key) you'll likely carry a portable being with you that is actually "smarter" than you are though it has different interests/outlooks, etc. These so called "robots" are just the mechanisms.
BTW the most important development displayed here, period, is the advance in human/machine communication. We'll have machines SOON that can make quadriplegics completely mobile. that can replace damaged nerve systems, that enable you to control remote vehiclesas if you were sitting in them etc. Scared yet? I am

Posted by creid August 15, 09 07:05 AM

I think the reason we don't see all the car-building robots is fear of industry spionage. I visited the Toyota factories 3 years ago, and they didn't allow us to take pictures of thair robots. Quite a shame, because they were probably the most impressive robots I saw on my trip to Japan - and I saw quite a lot of robots there.

I also can't help agreeing what Eric H also noticed: Where everyone else builds robots to save people or help people, the US is building war related stuff.

Posted by chip August 15, 09 07:55 AM

Hands up those who want to see photos of #22 and #23 in a bubble bath!
\o/ \o/ \o/

Posted by Pete August 15, 09 08:16 AM

I’m sure that Americans and Americans alone produce nothing but military robots. Nevermind that this is a subjective collection of images, not an objective representation of reality (which is impossible anyway). I’m frankly sick and tired of this elitist/utopist and uninformed anti-Americanism that is so widespread today -- and I’m not even an American.

Posted by A fed-up German August 15, 09 06:08 PM

Well George, instead of repeating rhetoric, why not share some of your knowledge about the world and bring me up to speed. Please skip the claptrap, like how they hate us for our freedom or our way of life, and stick with hard facts.

And to answer your cutting retort, I clearly unsettled your imperious convictions.

Posted by Alex August 16, 09 01:50 AM

All of these 'bots need to be covered in sensors. how on earth are they supposed to know their own center of gravity and their position in the world around them without that?
We are looking at the beginnings of the next phase of human evolution. We will one day be indistinguishable from the robots, but not in any silly 'Borg' way. We can use natural methods of energy and matter production to create these new beings, and I'm thinking an eventual melding with them will happen. Provided we don't kill each other off first with our pointless rivalry.

Posted by Oracle August 16, 09 03:56 PM


Posted by Anonymous August 17, 09 09:57 AM

É can see armies of low-skilled unemployed people revolting... It's either that or we limit workhours and workdays for humans.

Posted by Christos August 17, 09 12:37 PM

Big Brother is coming folks.

Posted by El Zebra August 17, 09 12:55 PM

I could ruminate over your words Alex, but you have taken up enough of my time. Yes, yes, you may make your comments about me now, but in the end, apathy wins.

Comment 91. Very well said!

Posted by George August 17, 09 01:22 PM

Ha, Good Post on #3 Mr. Conner

Posted by DB August 18, 09 01:02 PM

i think the pictures are great

Posted by Anonymous August 19, 09 06:09 AM

George, I'm disappointed, but not surprised, you chose to capitulate.

I suggest reading Vexen Crabtree's essay, "Why People Hate America: A Summary of Anti-Americanism." It is available online. Perhaps afterwards it may end your apathy & help us all reach an amicable settlement on this matter.

Posted by Alex August 19, 09 05:25 PM

I suspect my boss is one of them . . .

Posted by CC Cooper August 20, 09 08:34 AM

preciso que me ajudem a construir alguma coisa robotica pra se apresentar na escola. não precisa ser necessariamente um robô pode ser objeto alguma coisa simples e que fosse util. e um projeto que seja apresentado na escola daqui 20 dias.

Posted by Nathalia August 24, 09 12:50 PM

cool :)

Posted by xxxx August 26, 09 03:54 AM

i think the pictures are fabullus......i want to know about the more sites like this by which we can collect more pics.............
plz send the sites related to this on my e-mail id................
i am thankful to you.........

Posted by mohd shahbaz siddiqui August 26, 09 06:33 AM

ASIMO (# 28), is my favourite robot forever, is awesome

Posted by Raffarobot August 26, 09 03:10 PM

wow their mad robots!!! love the work keep it Up!!!

Posted by chante August 26, 09 09:07 PM

awesome stuff!
the robots look sweet.
keep it up

Posted by zoe August 26, 09 09:09 PM

Regarding photo #25. I for one can't wait for the development of the Brain in a Jar ruling class.

Posted by Maria August 27, 09 05:05 PM

I'm not sure where you are but I'm in the Appalachian Mounatins. We have robotics in many of our schools and colleges - though I'm more into molecular ecology. It would be very lovely to find a place where doctors were still two hours away.

Posted by Rachel August 30, 09 08:38 AM

Fiquei encantada! Meus sonhos de menina se tornam realidade diante dos meus olhos! Minha única frustração - por enquanto - é estar distante de tudo isso. Mas vou inspirar meus alunos - sou professora de Filosofia - quero que eles vejam, já não precisam sonhar, que participem! Que criem! O BRASIL tem participação ativa nesse seguimento! Isso muito me orgulha! I'M BRAZILIAN TEACHER ! I'M HUMAN

Posted by Luiza Helena August 31, 09 09:53 AM


Posted by Anonymous September 18, 09 09:32 AM


Posted by chandu September 19, 09 04:19 AM


Posted by kodi September 29, 09 11:42 AM

i really like the first chinese girl that has the sash on she is the one that looks the most realistic and the most pretiest

Posted by breanna October 23, 09 09:51 AM

iam very happy tosaw these pictures iam also build a 5 feet tall robot and it is still in progress karachi pakistan

Posted by Azam khan October 27, 09 02:25 PM

This iz awesome...
I really like the Japenese people!
they look sooo realistic!
I don't know why, but most of the Japanese things I think were pretty fantastic...

Posted by Amy Loverly January 10, 10 10:03 AM

i love it

Posted by anthony williams February 2, 10 12:53 PM

this is aw-mazing .i wish i had one of those robots especially the cooking ones

Posted by rosa March 21, 10 05:14 PM

can you add more images about your robots ...your images are perfect......and can you increase their size some more.

Posted by omar hussam March 24, 10 08:55 AM

They are going to take over the world!!!! haaaa

Posted by Anonymous April 23, 10 10:09 AM

mm.... very nice

Posted by shanmuganathan from india October 7, 10 04:19 AM
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