Humanoid robots are used as a research tool in several scientific areas.
Researchers need to understand the human body structure and behavior (biomechanics) to build and study humanoid robots. On the other side, the attempt to simulate the human body leads to a better understanding of it.
Human cognition is a field of study which is focused on how humans learn from sensory information in order to acquire perceptual and motor skills. This knowledge is used to develop computational models of human behavior and it has been improving over time.
It has been suggested that very advanced robotics will facilitate the enhancement of ordinary humans. See transhumanism.
Although the initial aim of humanoid research was to build better orthosis and prosthesis for human beings, knowledge has been transferred between both disciplines. A few examples are: powered leg prosthesis for neuromuscularly impaired, ankle-foot orthosis, biological realistic leg prosthesis and forearm prosthesis.
Besides the research, humanoid robots are being developed to perform human tasks like personal assistance, where they should be able to assist the sick and elderly, and dirty or dangerous jobs. Regular jobs like being a receptionist or a worker of an automotive manufacturing line are also suitable for humanoids. In essence, since they can use tools and operate equipment and vehicles designed for the human form, humanoids could theoretically perform any task a human being can, so long as they have the proper software. However, the complexity of doing so is deceptively great.
They are becoming increasingly popular for providing entertainment too. For example, Ursula, a female robot, sings, play music, dances, and speaks to her audiences at Universal Studios. Several Disney attractions employ the use of animatrons, robots that look, move, and speak much like human beings, in some of their theme park shows. These animatrons look so realistic that it can be hard to decipher from a distance whether or not they are actually human. Although they have a realistic look, they have no cognition or physical autonomy. Various humanoid robots and their possible applications in daily life are featured in an independent documentary film called Plug & Pray, which was released in 2010.
Humanoid robots, especially with artificial intelligence algorithms, could be useful for future dangerous and/or distant space exploration missions, without having the need to turn back around again and return to Earth once the mission is completed.
Read more about this topic: Humanoid Robot
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Famous quotes containing the word purpose:
“I think the worst thing this nation could do for humanity would be to leave any uncertainty as to our will, our purpose and our capacity to carry out our purpose.”
—Hubert H. Humphrey (19111978)
“During the cattle drives, Texas cowboy music came into national significance. Its practical purpose is well knownit was used primarily to keep the herds quiet at night, for often a ballad sung loudly and continuously enough might prevent a stampede. However, the cowboy also sang because he liked to sing.... In this music of the range and trail is the grayness of the prairies, the mournful minor note of a Texas norther, and a rhythm that fits the gait of the cowboys pony.”
—Administration in the State of Texa, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)
“Of what significance the light of day, if it is not the reflection of an inward dawn?to what purpose is the veil of night withdrawn, if the morning reveals nothing to the soul? It is merely garish and glaring.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)