Military robot dances Gangnam Style

Navy robot CHARLI-2 can walk, play soccer ... and perform viral dances.

(Credit: RoMeLa)

Navy robot CHARLI-2 can walk, play soccer ... and perform viral dances.

CHARLI — which stands for Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence — is a bit of a robotic superstar. Developed by Virginia Tech robotics lab RoMeLa, it has won a bunch of awards: the 2011 Best Invention of the Year award from Time magazine; the Louis Vuitton Best Humanoid award at RoboCup 2011; and first place in the AdultSize League for autonomous soccer at RoboCup 2011 and 2012.

It uses stabilising technology to right itself when pushed off-balance, and is currently being used by the US Office of Naval Research to develop fire-fighting robots. The US Navy has also granted CHARLI-2's creator a US$3.5 million grant to develop the Autonomous Shipboard Robot, or ASH, because that stabilising technology would be very useful indeed at sea.

RoMeLa said of the tech:

CHARLI-2 implements an impressive active stabilisation strategy based on sensory feedback (filtered IMU angles, gyro rate readings and proprioception information based on joint encoders). Stabilising torques at the ankle joints are applied based on this information, and successfully rejects external disturbances.

Seeing his smooth dance-floor moves, though, we think that CHARLI-2 should definitely consider a career on the stage.