Is a humanoid robot inherently more human than your average task-specific bot? iRobot apparently doesn't think so, and it's taken square aim at one of the most popular humanoid bots around to make its point. That argument arose in a recent interview with CNET News
, where iRobot CEO Colin Angle responded to a question about humanoid robots by flatly asking, "why would you want to make a humanoid robot?," adding that they might be good for movies or those looking for a robot companion, "but other than that, most tasks are best tackled by designs that are not constrained by trying to look like a person." He then goes on to note that Honda's ASIMO
"requires a team of 10 or 15 people to maintain it, it can walk about, maybe, half a meter per second and in some situations climb stairs over the course of a few minutes, and if it ever falls down, it's a paperweight." On the other hand, iRobot's Warrior bot
, he says, "can take a 10-foot drop onto concrete, drive 20 miles an hour, drive up stairs without stopping at full speed, carry 200 pounds of payload and has, maybe, five motors," which means it can "go nearly everywhere a human can." So, Angle says, "you look at these things and say, which one of these is a robot human? The answer is, Warrior." Is it? Or, deep down, is there a little bit of ASIMO in all of us?