It’s the perennial debate: R2-D2 versus C-3PO, Astromech versus Protocol Droid, utility versus usability, function versus form. When the maker movement took off 10 years ago, a bottom-up, keep-it-super-simple approach to amateur robotics made more sense, especially from a cost perspective. But now, thanks to cheaper, smaller control systems and access to sophisticated technologies like 3D printing and networkable servos, more makers are starting to tackle much more complex, fussier, high-end robotics projects like androids, gynoids, and anthropomorphic arms. Here are just a handful of the most exciting developments in the world of anthrobotics — whether military, commercial, or maker-made.
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This article first appeared in MAKE Volume 39, on pages 34–37.