You know how the original Terminator looks like a human — even on the inside? Well, that was probably a good design decision. As the designers of this android undoubtedly know, the best way to get a robot to look and move like a human is to give it an actual musculoskeletal system.
Everyone, say hello to Roboy, a conceptual android endowed with plastic muscles and artificial tendons. The humanoid robot is currently under development at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the University of Zurich. Some 40 engineers and scientists have contributed to Roboy — a tendon-driven bot modeled off of humans.
Normally, robots have motors in their joints, limiting them to jerky, rigid movements. These bots lack the elasticity that's characteristic of biological creatures. But Roboy, a four-foot-tall android, has a human-like chest cavity and a set of artificial muscles that are coordinated with electrical motors and artificial tendons.
As MIT's Technology Review points out, "Tendon-driven systems like Roboy mimic the flexible mechanics of biology, and could result in a new class of robots that are lighter, safer, and move in a more natural way."
Once complete, Roboy's primary mission will be to work as a "service robot" not unlike the one featured in Robot & Frank.