Humanoids and the Potential Role of Electroactive Materials/Mechanisms in Advancing their Capability
Humanoids are increasingly becoming capable biologically inspired robots that are appearing and behaving lifelike. Making humanlike robots is the ultimate challenge to biomimetics and, while for many years they were considered a science fiction, such robots are increasingly becoming engineering reality. Progress in producing such robots are allowing them to perform impressive functions and tasks. In 2012, in an effort to promote significant advances in developing humanoids, DARPA posed a Robotic Challenge to produce such robots that operate in disaster scenarios towards making society more resilient. The challenge was focused on the requirements that have been needed after the Fukushima accident in Japan, hoping to advance the field of disaster robotics. This disaster posed significant challenges to emergency responders since radiation prevented people from going into the station and venting the explosive gas. Another significant development in this field is the fact that major US corporations have entered into the race to produce commercial humanoids. As a result, one can expect significant and rapid progress in this field. Developing humanoids is critically dependent of the use of highly efficient, compact, lightweight actuators and electroactive materials are offering great potential. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art of humanlike robots, potential applications and challenges, as well as the actuation materials that are used or could be used.
Y. Bar-Cohen, "Humanoids and the Potential Role of Electroactive Materials/Mechanisms in Advancing their Capability", Advances in Science and Technology, Vol. 97, pp. 81-89, 2017