HRP-5P is a robot developed by the Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Institute ( AIST ) in Japan. Researchers have taught it to do the same sort of construction work as humans, including dry walling. As news portal ‘Techcrunch’ reports , the robot uses environmental measurements, object recognition, and motion planning, for example, to carry out its tasks. In collaboration with industry, it is now set to be trained for use on construction sites or in aircraft assembly. According to the developers, its labor could help solve the problem of a shrinking labor force in an ageing society such as Japan.

The University of Texas at Austin are taking a somewhat different approach. Humans automatically dodge obstacles, robots do not – and the damage they cause when they fall over is often great. That is why scientists have now developed the robot Mercury . This robot holds itself up on two legs when it is hit by or collides with objects – by dancing. To achieve this, the researchers have translated the human ability to maintain whole-body balance into a mathematical equation. Sensors, capable of rapidly processing an impact, ensure agility. Mercury’s developers say that its algorithms are applicable to any comparable AI-based machines.