Research into the way we move continues to be terrifying to the layperson.
Remember that scene at the end of Terminator, where the ruined torso of the T-800 drags itself along the metal press, trying to reach Sarah Connor? Well, I challenge you to look at the Pneuborn-7II, which is designed to crawl under its own power, and not think of that scene.
The Pneuborn-7II, and its slightly larger counterpart, the Pneuborn-13, are the work of the Osaka Univeristy’s Hosada Lab, and are designed to help study musculoskeletal development. The Pneuborn-7II is based on measurements taken from a real seven-month-old baby, while the Pneuborn-13 is – predictably enough – based on a 13-month-old child, and is designed to be able to walk upright. Both are fully autonomous, although their actual level of intelligence is quite limited. Rather than use motors, they have pneumatic actuators – hence their names – which allows them to keep going for a long time without overheating.
The robots look like baby terminators, although thankfully without the red-eyed skull faces. There are currently no videos of the robots in motion available, which may actually be a blessing in disguise, and it’s hard to decide if they’d be more, or less, creepy if they had skin. We can only hope that the researchers behind the Pneuborn project never join forces with their colleagues working on the Affetto project, because the two combined is the stuff of nightmares.