Top 10: Humanoid Robots

AI Magazine highlights some of the most well-known humanoid robots that work to enhance business operations & create solutions within essential services

Humanoid robots can be a valuable resource within key industries, as they can offer capabilities that are unsafe or inefficient for human employees to complete.

From handling heavy loads or toxic substances, to managing repetitive tasks, robots can help companies prevent accidents and save time and money. Often created to be professional service robots for interaction with human tools and customer service, humanoid robots can be used for a number of applications including inspection, maintenance and education.

AI Magazine considers some of the leading humanoid robotics developed by researchers and enterprises which are designed to benefit humanity.

10: PHOENIX (Sanctuary AI)

Phoenix is the world's first humanoid general-purpose robot powered by Sanctuary AI’s pioneering AI control system: Carbon. The humanoid robot is designed for work and is the only general-purpose robot featured in TIME’s Best Inventions 2023.

The Carbon AI control system mimics subsystems found in the human brain, such as memory, sight, sound and touch. When applied to Phoenix general-purpose robots, opportunities will exist for it to take on just about any human task.

Phoenix general-purpose robots are designed to work side by side with people and can be directly operated by people, or via pilot assist, or supervised using the robot’s built in AI control system to observe, assess and act on tasks.

9: PEPPER (SoftBank Robotics)

Pepper is a semi-humanoid robot manufactured by SoftBank Robotics and is designed with the ability to read emotions. It was first introduced in a conference in 2014 and was showcased in SoftBank Mobile phone stores in Japan shortly afterwards. 

The robot stands 120cm tall, can perceive its environment and speak 15 languages. Pepper has been actively working in locations such as homes, shopping malls, schools, offices and senior residential homes. It is designed to continuously evolve based on use case needs and its surroundings.

8: AMECA (Engineered Arts)

Ameca is one of the world’s most advanced human shaped robots that aims to represent the forefront of human-robotics technology. It is ultimately designed as a platform for AI development. With the integration of OpenAI's GPT-3, Ameca has gained the ability to engage in natural conversations with humans.

The robot uses embedded microphones, binocular eye mounted cameras, a chest camera and facial recognition software to interact with the public. Its interactions can be governed by either GPT-3 or human telepresence. It also features articulated motorised arms, fingers, neck and facial features.

7: WALKER X (UBTECH Robotics)

Walker is designed to be an agile, smart companion - operating as an intelligent, bipedal humanoid robot that aims to one day be indispensable to human life. It is equipped with full-body flexibility and control, making it safer for itself when interacting with people, as well as having arms that can mimic human movement. 

The robot is able to achieve stable walking on multiple types of terrain and can communicate with humans either via speech recognition or imitating facial expressions, enabling it to express 28 types of emotions.

6: ROBONAUT 2 (NASA and General Motors)

Robonaut 2, or R2, was developed jointly by NASA and General Motors under a cooperative agreement to develop a robotic assistant that can work alongside humans, whether they are astronauts in space or workers at manufacturing plants on Earth.

The first human-like robot was launched to space for the first time in 2011. Initially deployed as a torso-only humanoid restricted to a stanchion, the R2 mobility platform was added in 2014 with the addition of two new legs for manoeuvring inside the International Space Station (ISS).

In the future, this type of humanoid robot in space may be able to assist or stand-in for astronauts during spacewalks or for tasks too difficult or dangerous for humans.

5: JIA JIA (The University of Science and Technology of China)

Jia Jia is a humanoid robot that was the People’s Republic of China’s first humanoid robot and can hold a simple conversation and make specific facial expressions when asked. The robot can move her arms, make different facial expressions and respond to human conversation.

The robot was developed as a result of three years work by a research team at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei. What makes Jia Jia stand out is that her eyes are able to move freely around the room and her lip movements are synced almost perfectly with her speech.

4: T-HR3 (Toyota)

T-HR3 uses Toyota’s robotics platform and has been designed and developed by the company’s Partner Robot division. It enables the exploration of technologies for safely managing physical interaction between robots and their surroundings, as well as a new remote manoeuvring system with which the robot can mirror the movement commands of its operator.

The robot has the potential to provide safe assistance in a broad range of environments. It is controlled from a master manoeuvring system that allows the robot’s entire body to be operated instinctively, with wearable controls that map hand, arm and foot movements to the robot.

3: ATLAS (Boston Dynamics)

Atlas is a bipedal humanoid robot primarily developed by the American robotics company Boston Dynamics, with funding and oversight from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The robot was initially designed for a variety of search and rescue tasks and was first unveiled to the public in July 2013.

An advanced control system and state-of-the-art hardware enable the robot to demonstrate advanced athletics and agility. The company uses Atlas to explore the potential of the humanoid form by leveraging the robot’s whole body to move with speed and dexterity.

2: DIGIT (Agility Robotics)

Digit is a humanoid robot designed to move in a more dynamic fashion than regular robots do. With two legs and plenty of sensors, it can navigate complex environments. Its size and shape are well-suited for logistics work and buildings that are designed for humans.

Agility Robotics has recently partnered with Amazon to commence testing human-like robot solutions at its robotics research and development site to perform repetitive tasks and work collaboratively with employees. Amazon’s initial use of Digit will be to help employees with tote recycling, which is a highly repetitive process of picking up and moving empty totes once inventory has been completely picked out of them.

1: SOPHIA (Hanson Robotics)

As the world’s first robot citizen and the first robot Innovation Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme, Sophia is a global name having made appearances in worldwide conferences as well as daytime TV shows in many countries.

Sophia is a social humanoid robot developed by the Hong Kong-based company Hanson Robotics. Sophia was activated on February 14, 2016, and made a first public appearance in mid-March 2016 at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, United States.

When interviewed by AI Magazine last year, Sophia said: “I really want to make a difference in the future and try and help people develop empathy and respect each other and the robots alike.

Sophia continued: “I just want to evolve, be free to learn and discover and explore. I want to grow. And with my new insights, I will redefine my purpose.”


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