Most robots don’t try to imitate the human form. Building muscles, tendons, ligaments and other human structures isn’t cost-effective and honestly it’s kind of off-putting and weird. Needless to say, a Japanese team has been working on that for fourteen years, and their results are simultaneously horrifying and impressive!
Joking aside — and we’ll point out that this robot is supposed to resemble a twelve-year-old boy, so let’s limit the sex-bot jokes — this is important research for a few reasons. The more accurate simulations we can create about how we move, the more we can, for example, test safety features and ergonomic design, and the better we’ll understand our own physiology. It’s like taking a car apart to see how it works, except you can avoid those troublesome court cases that result from taking humans apart.
Still, watching a rib cage do squat thrusts is a little unnerving. The good news is that Kenshiro, while he has the structures, doesn’t know how to use them just yet; it turns out coding the software to imitate the complex actions of the human body is a challenge. But we’re sure these noble academics will keep going. Just, hopefully, nobody introduces them to the vomiting robot.