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In Our Own Image

The state of the art in humanoid robotics

This is my caption.

And Elvex said, “I was the man.” — Isaac Asimov, Robot Dreams

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.

This article first appeared in MAKE Volume 39, on pages 34–37.

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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