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Aldebaran Robotics Taking Romeo Humanoid From Concept To Reality By March
Written by Evan Ackerman   
Wednesday, 22 December 2010 00:00

Authors: Evan Ackerman

Aldebaran Robotics, best known for their rather expensive hobby and research humanoid Nao, has announced that they’ve been developing a much larger humanoid robot called Romeo, and that they’ll have the first prototype ready to go in March.

Romeo will have a 37 degrees of freedom, a backbone, a partially soft torso, and the ability communicate using natural language and gestures. It’ll be able to walk around and carry and fetch things, which is good, since Aldebaran envisions Romeo helping out the elderly and disabled in their homes.

Looks pretty sweet, as a rendering at least.

I have to say, though, at this stage the project seems a bit optimistic to me. Not that there’s anything wrong with optimistic, mind you… But a humanoid that’s so far just a rendering walking around and taking out the trash by next March? At this point, the only piece Aldebaran seems to have is the head, although all of the rest of the mechanics have had their designs finalized. Maybe they’re just talking about having the physical robot completed, but to some extent, that’s the easy part. It’s one thing to design a robotic leg, it’s another thing to get a 5 foot tall, 90 pound robot to walk around, not to mention doing it while carrying stuff.

The other reservation I have about Romeo is that Aldebaran doesn’t sound like they’re going to make the robot open source. I’m not blindly advocating ROS or anything (or at least, I’m trying not to), but there’s a lot to be said for open source, and I feel like taking a different direction is going to be a substantial setback for Aldebaran… Why would you buy a robot that you have to program from scratch when open source languages like ROS have all kinds of code out there, just begging for you to use it and improve upon it?

Again, optimism is great, and I love that Aldebaran is going in this direction. I’m definitely hoping that all of my reservations will prove to be unfounded, and that this little robot kid will be taking out my trash by April.

As long as he gets some eyelids, that is.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 December 2010 01:03