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Navy’s Robot Does the Gangnam Style Dance

Written by on Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Unmanned technology has come a long way in the past several decades, but not quite in the way that we expected. If you had asked people fifty years ago what they thought the future of robotics would be, they probably would have predicted complete human-sized robots that complete tasks, kind of like the robotic maid from the Jetsons.

It’s a bit surprising that we’ve mastered AI-controlled drones that can fly themselves, but we’re still years away from developing robots that can walk and run. As far as science fiction movies go, it looks like HAL from Space Odyssey was much closer to the truth than Schwarzenegger from The Terminator.

Fortunately, the DoD hasn’t completely given up on autonomous robots. There are a few robots out there that can perform specific tasks – DARPA’s cheetah robot can run, for example, and the Big Dog can catch itself if it slips – but there is no single robot that can perform the whole range of human movement.


The Navy’s humanoid robot CHARLI-2, which was made in Virginia Tech, might bring us one step closer to that goal. CHARLI-2 is able to walk and maintain its balance after taking a blow. The Navy hopes that robots like Charli-2 can be used to fight shipboard fires. Well, that’s the main goal – if they can clear that hurdle, then who knows valium online what else CHARLI-2 can do? Dennis Hong of Virginia Tech’s Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory added, “If a robot can do all the tasks that come with fighting a fire, it can do all these other things on ships, like mopping the deck. It’s like the Swiss Army knife of robotics.”

Others things like dancing, perhaps. CHARLI-2 showed off its capabilities by taking to the dance floor to perform the famous Gangnam Style dance. With 529 million YouTube views, the South Korean hit video is well on its way to becoming one of the most viral videos of all time. It seems that robot-kind is also fond of cheesy dance moves and catchy K-Pop music.


Admittedly, CHARLI-2 doesn’t have quite as much swagger as a real dancer. It will definitely need a few more lessons before it can get Gangnam Style, but any robot that can that can maintain its balance so well through a dance routine is a step in the right direction. Keep in mind that the ability to stand upright is difficult all on its own. These robotic soccer players can barely stay upright, and they’re only about a foot tall. CHARLI-2 is closer to five feet tall and therefore much more difficult to keep standing. Could CHARLI-2 be the ancient ancestor of the walking, talking, firefighting robots of the future?

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