Watch This Creepy, Muscular Robot Exercise Like a Human

Thursday, 21 December 2017 - 6:31PM
Technology
Robotics
Thursday, 21 December 2017 - 6:31PM
Watch This Creepy, Muscular Robot Exercise Like a Human
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YouTube/University of Tokyo

Robots don't need to exercise. This should be clear to anyone who's ever seen a robot.

While the human body is capable of building greater strength through repeatedly pushing its muscles to greater and greater limits, metal arms are built with a single level of capable strength, and no amount of practice or training will enable them to carry more weight.

Thus, when the University of Tokyo's advanced humanoid robot performs exercises that are designed to help humans keep healthy, it can only be interpreted as an attempt to show us up. This robot can do more than three pull-ups, and therefore makes the majority of humans on planet Earth feel more than a little inadequate:



It's easy to assume that, true to gym culture among humans, this robot's attempts to simulate our movements is some kind of challenge; a display of machismo and superiority.

Certainly, the robot's Mona Lisa smile doesn't help things - the slight smirk is both slightly antagonistic, and incredibly creepy. This robot might be right to attempt some weight training, as it'll take a lot of effort for it to crawl out of the Uncanny Valley.

In truth, though, in programming this machine to exercise like a person, the engineers behind the bot aren't showing off its strength so much as they are demonstrating the greater flexibility and dexterity that they've been able to achieve.

While robots have no problem with picking up really heavy stuff, they're notoriously inflexible, and are often unable to adapt to a variety of tasks and poses. As such, the demonstration of humanoid exercise positions shows just how much more dextrous their new robot is when compared with similar machines.

Ideally, this technology will one day have a benefit to humans, as adaptable robot musculature can be used to make advanced prosthetic limbs that will improve the quality of life for amputees. With every stomach crunch, the University of Tokyo's exercising robot brings us closer to a world where Luke Skywalker's mechanical hand can exist, and that's only a good thing, even for those who have all their limbs intact, but simply want to have cool robot power armor.

Of course, a lot of this technology is likely to become obsolete very soon. Humanoid robots made from metal have their place for now, but long-term, it's likely that we'll see these machines replaced by squishy, modular bots that can adapt to a lot of different tasks with ease.

There's no need to worry about having to spot for a robot on the bench press at your local gym any time soon. This is probably for the best, as even now, there's no way a person could keep up with a robotic weight trainer.

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