Swiss aim to birth advanced humanoid in 9 months

Roboy is a tendon-driven robot designed to emulate humans, right down to the gestation period.

Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak

Here's a robotics challenge for you: create an advanced humanoid robot in only nine months.

That's what engineers at the University of Zurich's Artificial Intelligence Lab are trying to do with Roboy, a kid-style bot that's designed to help people in everyday environments.

Researchers around the world are trying to create useful humanoids. One interesting aspect of Roboy is its tendon-driven locomotion system.

Like Japan's Kenshiro humanoid, Roboy relies on artificial muscles to move; in the future, it will be covered with a soft skin.

Roboy could become a prototype for service robots that will help elderly people remain independent for as long as possible.

It's based on an earlier, one-eyed machine called Ecce, which looks something like a cyclops version of Skeletor. It was designed to be "the first truly anthropomimetic robot." Except the eye, of course.

Already well along in its development (check out the video below), Roby is expected to be born in March 2013, when it will be unveiled at the Robots on Tour event in Zurich. The lab is seeking donations to fund the work, including branding opportunities.

If you have 50,000 Swiss francs ($55,000) lying around, you can get your logo on Roboy, and strike terror into the hearts of your enemies.