One of DARPA's best-known research areas is robotics: it's funded everything from this super-fast cheetah to robots that could help evacuate people after disasters. At the IEEE robotics conference last week, Pittsburgh-based company RE2 showcased yet another of the defense agency's research projects. Named "Robbie," it's a humanoid robot with two arms, three-fingered hands, cameras in its eyes and mouth, and ear-like microphones. It's based on a robotic arm that DARPA showcased earlier this year, but Robbie is significantly more mobile and aware. Eventually, it's meant to be able to perform a number of tasks with minimal input, although that wasn't demonstrated in this video.
Although right now it look to be able to perform only separate one-armed tasks, eventually its creators hope it will be able to coordinate two-handed gestures, like changing a small tire. Later this year, a version will be spent to the National Air and Space Museum in DC, where visitors will be given the chance to interact with and control it. Disregarding its apparent propensity for grabbing cameras, it at least seems a lot friendlier than the cheetah or AlphaDog.