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More ‘Human’ Robots to Improve Interactions with People


Digit hopes to communicate with people through its light-up eyes. © Agility Robotics

Many robots have a humanoid form, but they can still lack that “human” touch. American start-up Agility Robotics wanted to make its new generation Digit robot more human.


This is a two-legged robot designed for warehouse work, intended to perform many automated and repetitive tasks, mainly the thankless and often dangerous missions that, in the long term, may be entrusted to robots. It can handle materials of varying weights in warehouses or distribution centres.

Digit is able to work autonomously on several predefined tasks. But what distinguishes it from most of the other projects currently being developed in laboratories is that it is equipped with illuminated eyes, actually LEDs, designed to convey “emotions” and thus improve interactions between the robot and its human “colleagues.”


Indeed, working harmoniously with humans should help improve the performance and efficiency of both robots and employees. As such, it’s a win-win situation.


In fact, Agility hopes to deploy Digit in partner companies’ warehouses in the near future for its first tests in a real-world environment.


In recent months, many often spectacular humanoid robot projects have been unveiled, including one recently presented by the start-up Figure, which promises to be the most advanced ever developed.


Known for its famous robot dog Spot, Boston Dynamics recently unveiled Atlas, a model capable of lifting, handling and moving heavy loads, like a human worker.


For its part, Xiaomi is working on the CyberOne, a robot capable of perceiving space in 3D, but also recognizing individuals as well as their gestures, expressions and emotions.


Combined with artificial intelligence, it could interact directly with people. Finally, even Tesla is working on its own humanoid robot project, code-named Optimus.


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