London: Scientists are designing a new ambitious robotic humanoid helper with artificial muscles to help people with everyday tasks. Engineers at the University of Zurich's Artificial Intelligence Lab hope that 1.2 metre tall Roboy, designed to look like a child, will help the sick and elderly by acting as a mechanical helper.
The research team is developing radical artificial 'tendons' to help the robot move, the 'Daily Mail' reported. They have already signed up 15 project partners and over 40 engineers, and hope to fund the project using a combination of commercial partners and crowd-funding.
Researchers hope Roboy will become a blueprint for 'service robots' that work alongside humans. "Service robots are machines that are, to a certain extent, able to execute services independently for the convenience of human beings. Since they share their 'living space' with people, user-friendliness and safety are of great importance," researchers said.
The project will use artificial tendons to develop Roboy within just nine months. "Thanks to his construction as a tendon-driven robot modelled on human beings ('normal' robots have their motors in their joints), Roboy moves almost as elegantly as a human," the team said.
Work has also begun on Roboy's hands, which will be covered with a soft 'skin' to make it comfortable to the touch. Roby will be unveiled in March 2013 at the Robots on Tour event in Zurich.
"Our aging population is making it necessary to keep older people as autonomous as possible for as long as possible, which means caring for aged people is likely to be an important area for the deployment of service robots.
"We can very safely assume that service robots will become part of our environment in the future, as is already the case today for technologies such as smartphones and laptops," said researchers.