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Most advanced humanoid 'Roboy' to be birthed within 9 months by Swiss engineers

First Posted: Dec 26, 2012 11:55 AM EST

The new humanoid 'Roboy' will employ a new technology to move as elegantly as humans. He represents a new generation of robots and an innovative research direction for science and industry, according to the developers from the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the University of Zurich. After starting about 5 months ago, their goal is to develop one of the most advanced humanoid robots within the record-breaking timeframe of only nine months.

Their 15 project partners and over 40 engineers and scientists are constructing Roboy as a tendon-driven "soft robot" modelled on human beings. It can therefore move more fluently than "normal" robots which employ motors in their joints, leading to a kind of robot break-dance look.

The development of Roboy is set up as a joint project of research and industry to facilitate technology transfer in the new field of "soft robotics" and support Switzerlands status as a hub of technology. Another interesting element in this project is the crowdfunding aspect, where everyone can participate. "Financing the project through sponsorship and crowd funding enables us to implement an extremely ambitious project in an academic environment", said Prof. Rolf Pfeifer, who is heading the University of Zurich's AI Lab since the 25 years of its existence, in a release.

Roboy is being designed with the purpose of a "service robot," meaning it will execute services independently for the convenience of human beings. Since service robots share their "living space" with people, user-friendliness and safety, are priorities in the design process. Additional to natural and smooth movements, Roboy will be covered with "soft skin," in a second step, making interacting with him safer and more pleasant.

Roboy will be unveiled at the Robots on Tour March 8 and 9, 2013 in Zurich. You can also friend Roboy on Facebook.

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