Kawada Industries and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (ASIT) have just unveiled the latest edition of their family of humanoid robots, the HRP-4. HRP-4 is designed “in the image of a lean but well-muscled track-and-field athlete,” and it certainly is pretty damn lean…
At 5 feet tall it only weighs 86 pounds, and it boasts increased flexibility of its 34 joints over its predecessors. Despite its apparent lack of big fat heavy stuff like powerful motors, computers, and batteries, it has no trouble doing all of the important android basics:
HRP-4 is designed to aid in the development of robots that could replace humans in simple manual labor, specifically to address Japan’s impending labor shortage (due to an aging population and low birthrate). While I’m all for androids, when it comes to manual labor and repetitive tasks the human form (while adaptable) is not necessarily optimal, and I have to wonder whether it really makes sense to use humans as a research model in that respect.
HRP-4 will be available in 2011 for about $305,000.