For a while it seems as though Japan—famous since the 1960s for its work in developing robotics for a plethora of global industries—had lost its competitive edge over the past decade or so, with other countries reaching and then surpassing Japanese daring-do in the field of robots and robotics.
But… never did Japan stop trying.
The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (of Japan), aka the AIST, has developed a prototype robot (it has a humanoid shape, so it’s a robot, as opposed to robotics) that has been designed to work on construction sites
Check out the video below:
Dubbed the HRP-5P (産総研公式), the humanoid robot, it is seen in the video performing some pretty standard drywall construction. And doing it it slower than a human, but it is a step forward in human-robotic relations.
According to the AIST, the robot is not meant to replace human labor, rather it was designed to be used when human labor is unavailable or sparse. For example, perhaps some humanity work is being required in some disaster-stricken country, and rather than NOT construct new homes because there’s no labor, a crew of humanoid robots could be sent and utilized.
Although, let’s not be blind to the tech… this is one of those technologies that could eventually have humanity turn into giant floating brains, as the need for a human body is displaced in a dystopian future because robots have become our slave workers.
Did you watch the video? Check out how, when the humanoid robot has bent down to apply the floor-level screw to the plaster board, that it grasps the wall structure crossbeam with its left for better balance.
Smart and sexy. Okay, maybe not. But definitely functional.
Now the AIST just needs to increase the humanoid robot’s speed. Unless it’s unionized… in which case its speed is just fine. I wouldn't want to tick off any union.