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Best Robots in the World 2019

The best Social Robots, Humanoid Robots and Industrial robots in the world right now

The twenty-first century will go down in history as an age of innovation and technological advancement, from beginner robot kits to robot-assisted therapy the industry is ever advancing. However, this continual and rapid development makes it increasingly difficult to be able to pin point exactly which robot can be considered the best. Nevertheless, by dividing the robots into three simple categories it is easier to investigate which robots are the best in their field.

  1. The Best Social, Humanoid Robots
  2. The Best Social, Non Humanoid Robots
  3. The Best Industrial robots

The Best Social Robots:

The best way to explore the hierarchy of social robots, is to divide them into humanoid and non-humanoid varieties since their roles and capabilities are so different.

Humanoid Social Robots:

1. ASIMO

Honda Asimo Robot

ASIMO is a humanoid robot created by Honda in 2000. Since then it has been continually developed and has become one of the worlds most advanced social robots.

ASIMO has the ability to recognise moving objects, postures, gestures, understand its environment, and interact with humans.

Unique Features: ASIMO is currently the most physically capable social robot with the ability to walk, run and even use the stairs.

2. Pepper

Pepper Robot, Softbank Robotics

Introduced in 2014 Pepper was showcased in Softbank’s mobile stores in Japan and has become introduced in Renault dealerships across France.

Unique Features: Pepper is the world’s first robot that is capable of recognising human emotions. Pepper is social, capable of having conversations with people, giving them directions and even dancing with them

3. Walker

Walker Robot, Ubtech

UBTECH’s Walker robot was revealed at CES 2019 and is due to be released in the next 18 months. Walker is an agile, intelligent, bipedal humanoid robot. Standing at 1.45m tall, the new version of walker is more advanced than ever, it is able to interact with people and even has the ability to walk smoothly and quickly and to grasp and manipulate objects.

Unique Features: Even though it has not been released yet, this robot has the potential to make history. Walker may be the first commercially viable, bipedal robot available to purchase.

4. Samsung Bot Retail

Bot Retail Robot, Samsung

Samsung released three robots at CES 2019: Bot Retail, Bot Care and Bot Air. Bot retail is the biggest of the three with a large front display and basic shelving system at the back allowing it to deliver food or other items.

Unique Features: Samsung Bot Retail has the ability to interact with people, make payments using NFC technology and recognise objects using the front facing camera. Therefore, this robot looks like strong competition for SoftBank Robotics’ Pepper and may be seen climbing the rankings very soon.

5. Sanbot

Sanbot Robot, Qihan Technology

Sanbot is an intelligent, cloud enabled service robot developed by Qihan technology.

Unique Features: Not only does Sanbot have the ability to interact with people, it can present using its front screen and even use its built-in projector to display graphics on a nearby wall, making Sanbot perfect for retail environments.

Slightly smaller than Pepper, but under half the price, Sanbot is one of the leading social robots in the industry right now.

6. Nao

Nao Robot, Softbank Robotics

Originally released in 2008 and having been continually developed for over 10 years, Nao is one of the most iconic robots in the world right now. Used as the standard platform for the robo cup Nao has to be dynamic and agile.

Unique Features: Nao has the ability to interact with people but more significantly is able to work with Autistic children and run exercise sessions in care homes. Nao has a number of varied uses and undertakes valuable work in local communities.

7. Romeo

Romeo Robot, Softbank Robotics

Romeo is another robot created by Softbank Robotics, launched in 2009. The Romeo robot was created as a robot companion with the ability to support the elderly and disabled.

Unique Features: Upon Romeo’s release, he will have the ability to improve the wellbeing of people around him. He will be able to help with everyday tasks, assist when people have fallen over, make conversations and play games.

Non-Humanoid Social Robots:

1. Paro

Paro Robot Seal

Paro is a therapeutic baby seal robot, intended to be cute in order to have a calming effect on patients in hospitals and nursing homes.

Paro works in a similar way to animal-assisted therapy and has been found to calm people, especially with diseases such as dementia. But without the difficulties or risks associated with live animals!

Unique Features: Paro responds to petting and interaction by moving its tail and opening and closing its eyes. It can even actively seek out eye contact, respond to touch and cuddle with people.

2. Buddy

Buddy Robot, Blue Frog

Buddy has been developed by Blue Frog Robotics and is designed as a emotional companion robot to be used in the home. Buddy connects, interacts and even protects people in the home.

Unique Features: Buddy is designed to be your personal assistant, watch over your home while you’re away and even entertain children with games and other interactivities.

3. Miro

Miro Robot

Miro is based on the simple premise that animals have qualities that are desirable in today's social robots. As a consequence, this robot is robust, adaptable and good at communicating its feelings.

Unique Features: Miro represents history in the making because it is one of the world’s first robots that runs a brain-inspired biomimetic operating system. This means that Miro will act more like a pet that a robot.

4. Zenbo

Zenbo Robot, Asus

Developed by Asus, Zenbo is designed as a home healthcare assistant. Zenbo will be priced at $600 however Asus did not announce when it would be available to consumers.

Unique Features: Zenbo is undoubtedly going to compete directly with Buddy. With the ability to control connected devices in the home, monitor security, perform various online tasks and interact with people, Zenbo may be more health care focused, but these two will certainly fight for market share.

5. Aibo

Aibo, Sonys Robot dog

Originally developed in 1998 Aibo is Sony’s own robot dog. However, it has been recently redeveloped to be more advanced than ever!

Unique Features: Aibo has lifelike expressions and a dynamic array of movements. Its loveable behaviour brings warmth and delight to the everyday lives of its owners, with no fur to vacuum up!

6. Piaggio ‘Gita’ cargo bot

Piaggio Gita Cargo Bot

Piaggio's 'Gita' cargo bot is designed to be the helping hand that everyone needs. Gita is designed to help you carry your things, helping free up your hands in order to get on with what’s important.

Unique Features: It’s designed to match human levels of mobility so it should be able to go almost anywhere. As well as the ability to follow your movements Gita also has the ability to navigate autonomously in a mapped environment. This is certainly a robot worth keeping an eye on, it could one day revolutionise the humble shopping trolley.

The Best Industrial Robots:

Industrial robots require a hierarchy of their own because while their qualities and capabilities may rival social robotics in ‘impressiveness’, they are so different in their functionality that to consider them together would certainly be an uneven playing field.

1. Valkyrie robot

NASA Valkyrie robot

Developed in collaboration with NASA and the University of Edinburgh, Valkyrie is one of the most advanced humanoid robots in the world. Valkyrie has been designed with the ability to one day assist the setup of habitats on mars prior to human arrival.

Unique Features: Valkyrie is designed to work in environments too hazardous for astronauts which would allow for the building of safer habitats and colonies on mars.

2. Atlas

Atlas Robot, Boston Dynamics

Atlas, developed by Boston Dynamics is the latest in the line of advanced humanoid robots that they’re developing.

Unique Features: Atlas is extremely mobile and has the ability to balance while performing tasks such as carrying items even when it is pushed. Atlas’s hardware takes advantage of 3D printing. This is significant not only because it saves weight and space but because this results in a remarkably compact robot with high strength to weight ratio.

3. Spot Mini

Boston Dynamics, Spot Mini

Spot Mini is the first robot from Boston Dynamics that is becoming commercially available. This robot is designed to be used in a variety of functions including security, manufacturing and delivery.

Unique Features: Spot Mini is remarkable for its ability to manage on uneven terrain in both internal and external environments, an impressive and useful quality for a robot of today.

4. HRP-5P

HRP-5P Construction Robot

HRP-5P is an advanced humanoid. Created by AIST, HRP-5P is a research robot designed to be able to assist with building and manufacturing processes.

Unique Features: It is capable of using power tools and handling large objects like drywall sheets. With the construction sector contributing 7% of the UK’s overall GDP, this could be a game changer for large and small businesses alike.

5. Baxter

Baxter Robot, Rethink Robotics

Baxter, built by Rethink Robotics, was introduced in September 2011 and is one of the first collaborative robots. Baxter has a screen ‘face’ that allows it to display dynamic facial expressions to show its mood.

Unique Features: As opposed to traditional robots that require specific programming, Baxter can be taught a task physically, for instance, by moving its hands to perform the task, then the computer can memorise and be able to repeat the task autonomously.

But which robot comes out on top?

The field of robotics is as impressive as it is varied and as dynamic as it is useful. Each robot listed above represents a breakthrough in technological science and symbolises an opportunity to achieve new and incredible things. It is therefore hard to distinguish which robots demonstrate a better achievement than another.

Nevertheless, at Luca Robotics we believe that the achievements which should be the most celebrated in the robotics community, as of 2019 so far, are:

  • AISMO - and its runner up Pepper
  • Paro - and its runner up Buddy
  • Valkyrie - and its runner up Atlas

The Humanoid social robotics category is topped by robot AISMO with Pepper as its runner up. These robots highlight how technology has become so advanced that it has begun to even replicate the human body. AISMO can walk, run and even climb stairs, a breakthrough that would have seemed out-of-reach and futuristic to anyone but sci-fi fans, only a decade ago. Not only this, but robots like Pepper demonstrate that the breakthrough is not only impressive, but capable of bringing joy to people and communities by translating these humanoid breakthroughs into beneficial human-like interactions such as making conversations and dancing.

The Non-humanoid social robotics category is worlds apart but its achievements are no less substantial. Paro is a unique development that is able to capitalise on the healing qualities of animal- assisted therapy but removes the difficulties and risks associated by the use of animals in hospitals or around vulnerable people. Paro is able to calm people, especially those with diseases such as dementia, which demonstrates that sometimes, cuteness really is a quality not to be underestimated in a robot.

The Industrial leading robots, Valkyrie and its runner up Atlas, are developments loaded with future potential. Space exploration and robotics have gone hand in hand since the 1960’s and 2019 is proving no different. With Valkyrie’s ability to work in environments too hazardous for astronauts, allowing for the building of safer habitats and colonies on Mars and with Atlas’ high strength to weight ratio, we could be experiencing major discoveries in the future from these robots. Perhaps this one small step for robots could lead to one giant leap for robotics overall in the next few years.

Ultimately these robots serve as a testament to human achievement. They provide opportunities for improvement ranging from benefits to local communities to exploration of the great unknown. Nevertheless, we're excited to see what will be achieved next in this unique and exciting industry.