"That new, biped, japanese android named Asimov"

Dear group, I recently seen a demonstration of a japanese engineered android. The robot has like a modular backpack incorporated into the rest of it's
structure. The robot was walking up a flight of stairs while turning it's head back and forth. I think I miss-spelled the name of the robot. This android is incredible. Is this a level of expertise that all amateur robot builders should strive for or not and what are the reasons pro and con. Personal thoughts on this video were as follows: Wow! what makes that technological marvel tick? What specific expensive sensors, modern mechanical parts, and type of software were used. How many single human beings did it take to design the android. How do the Japanese designers or engineers arrange their team structure in the development of a highly engineered product. Are the USA's team of engineers arranged in a radically different team structure when developing a high tech design compared with the "Japanese way"???? Was is done just by one inventor or a conglomeration of many top notch scientists and engineers working closely together with plenty of money to draw upon????? Subjectively speaking, it seems that the japanese always come out with the most technologically eye catching, advanced products. What makes their Electronic engineering, mechanical engineering, math departments, software engineering programs better than US higher educational institutions. What financial departments due they usually draw upon when designing one single expensive high tech gizmo. Are Japan's universities better then MIT, Stanford, UC Berkley, Cornell, Georgia Tech, or Harvard for their engineering programs???? Why??? If I wanted to design and build one with the same abilities without directly doing an outright copy of the japanese robot, what design skills, research skills, programming, high level math skills and money must I aquire???? Currently, I make less than $20,000 a year. I have worked for 5 years at a TV repair shop fixing electronic things and have no money saved. I have built simple electronic circuits before. I have no programming skills and the highest level of math that I completed was Algebra. What research methods and information avenues can I call upon to research the Japanese, android patent of this unique japanese engineered marvel??? How does one go about doing research as to what exact skills of knowledge were utilized in the making of this android. I would like to hear some really good,thourough answers on this. In taking my own guesses I come up short, and would say "Artificial Intelligence" language and neural programming was used. For the mechanics of the robot I would say special metals and joints were used. For the sensors I have really know idea. What branches of math disciplines are needed or utilized in making the Japanese android????? Is it called servo Loop control theory, differential equations, partial differential equations, matrix math, dsp theory, or what??????? Dear group, please try to answer all my questions as I am curious and dumbfounded(dumb) simultaneously by this amazing technology. I graceously thank you for answering my questions in a detailed manner. Goodbye for now. -----Mike
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Hi Mike,
I can address a couple of items in your post.
The robot you saw might be the Honda "Asimo" robot (http://asimo.honda.com ). Honda has been working on a humaniod robot for many years (since the 1980s).
You may also be interested in Sony's robot QRIO (http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/QRIO/top.html ).
The Japanese have put considerable time, resources, and money into developing technologies that will take decades to mature. They are willing to spend the cash now, lose money in the short term, but look for rewards far into the future. Most American corporations are concerned with short term results, and are very reluctant to invest large amounts of time, money, and resources into products that take a long time to develop, and may never generate a profit. I'm not saying one philosophy is better than the other, they are just different.
That being said, there are areas where American companies and universities excel. For example, Sony recently licensed vision technology from Evolution Robotics (http://www.evolution.com ) to use in their robots. There are plenty of other examples of cutting edge research and engineering being performed not only in the United States, but all over the world. It is amazing how diverse the robotics research community is.
Japan definitely has a leg up (literally!) on the biped walking robots, but don't count out the rest of the world yet. When someone starts making a profit building a humanoid robot, corporations will compete for the market.
For learning about robots and building your own, see if there is a robot club in your area (I think doing a Google or Yahoo search on "robot club" might work).
The math and engineering of the robots can be complex at times, but it is not necessary to get started. Build a robot, start experimenting, and you'll soon be teaching yourself geometry, trig, and calculus.
Hope this helps, Jay
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Jay Francis wrote:

<rest snipped>
Excellent post, Jay. Everything I was going to say, only better!
Personally, I think QRIO is now the humanoid to beat. Asimo looks so old-fashioned now.
-- Gordon Author: Constructing Robot Bases (Forthcoming) Robot Builder's Sourcebook, Robot Builder's Bonanza
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Thanks Gordon,
Gordon McComb wrote:

QRIO is impressive. At the IROS conference in Las Vegas Sony demoed the QRIOs, and they were amazing to watch. Remember though, they're small.
At the same conference, a presentation was given that showed a video of a Honda humanoid robot operating heavy construction machinery.
I suspect Honda isn't as interested in the entertainment aspect of robotics in comparison to Sony. Of course, if I'm going to pay for a robot helper, it would be nice for it to be entertaining too!
--Jay
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I think what it really comes down to is what kind of funding a project gets. Its mostly a publicity stunt to "show off". The technology created for the asimo is not revolutionary whatsoever.. They just threw money at some robot engineers and told them to make something that *looks* nice.
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