Sophia the robot takes her first steps

With a new set of legs, this humanoid robot now has enough mobility to take a few steps and even bust out some dance moves.

Lexy Savvides Principal Video Producer
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
Expertise Wearables | Smartwatches | Mobile phones | Photography | Health tech | Assistive robotics Credentials
  • Webby Award honoree, 2x Gold Telly Award winner
Lexy Savvides

With legs attached, Sophia is just shy of 6 feet tall.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

It's one small step for Sophia, one giant leap for robot-kind.

Sophia is a humanoid robot built by Hanson Robotics that debuted in 2016. Thanks to the addition of legs from DRC-HUBO (the same company that won the DARPA robotics competition in 2015), Sophia can now walk -- albeit slowly. Currently the legs are capable of moving at up to 0.6 miles per hour.

Her skin is surprisingly lifelike, using a material called "frubber" that lets her blink, move her mouth and turn her head relatively naturally. She's even appeared on the cover of Elle Brazil.

With a more human-like form, Hanson hopes that eventually Sophia will have applications in fields like medical therapy and could work alongside humans in factory situations.

Watch this: Sophia the robot walks for the first time

 "We think of her as an infant, she's really a baby," said David Hanson, CEO of Hanson Robotics and Sophia's creator. "She's part machine, part child, yet she's got all these cognitive capabilities, the vocabulary of an adult."

Talking with an AI system is increasingly commonplace with virtual assistants like those from Amazon and the Google Assistant across multiple devices from phones to smart speakers. But Sophia isn't quite at that level of conversational ability and she's partly scripted, partly AI.

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