Why are we obsessed with humanoid robots?

Robot RecliningWhy are we so obsessed with making things that look like us?

When we often say things like “sharks are the most perfectly and highly evolved predator on the planet”, why don’t we have more “Sharkbots”? The only Sharkbot on the Web is a t-shirt company: Link

A critical design parameter of ToyBots needs to be a *lack* of humanity, so that the focus is on function, not form. It seems to me that although I think we’re pretty wonderful, there are lots of problems and challenges with the human structure that I would probably want to design out if I was starting with a blank piece of paper. Just take a look at your trick knee and tell me that’s the very best we can do…

So, to our original list of ToyBot components:

  1. Power supply — rechargeable solar so that the bulk and inconvenience of batteries is eliminated;
  2. Control System — a Kodu-like visual programming language, controllable from a mobile device and autonomously run from a “brain” in the ToyBot;
  3. Wireless System — for communication between the wireless device and the brain of the ToyBot;
  4. Flashers — million-color LEDs;
  5. Treads — rubber tank-like tread units;
  6. Wheels — solid rubber car-like mountable units;
  7. Grabbers — pincers that can be mounted to grab and move objects;
  8. Magnets — mountable for grabbing metal objects;
  9. Speaker — Internet-connected mp3 player; and
  10. Lifters — servo-powered limbs which can lift load.

I would add:

  1. Chain — linked components that can create whip-like chain maneuvers;
  2. Spinner — rotating components that can move in multiple directions;
  3. Roll — spherical or cylindrical components that can leverage gravitational momentum;
  4. Bounce — components with give that can create angular momentum with a bounce reaction; and
  5. Hover — anti-grav units that can levitate the component (this might be a few years out :-))