The modern robot is more likely to look like a vacuum cleaner than, say, RoboCop. But if you want your robot to climb stairs, bring you a drink, or shake it to "Dostana," it's probably going to at least have arms and legs.
That's where Team Acyut comes in. The robot creators, a group of students from India's Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), just took home a medal from the RoboGames competition, an annual contest held this year in San Francisco sponsored by the likes of Lego and Make magazine. It's the first medal won by an Indian team. And it's based on a vision of the future where robots, they're not so different from you and me.
If you watch these guys build and tinker with the technology, you realize that it probably won't be the last award they win. "We have, over the years, built environments for human beings," Acyut team leader Samay Kohli told me. "A humanoid should go where a human being can go. That's what's pushing our research."
Check out the dancing robot video we posted. It's just part of what the team is up to. Most are still in their teens, and they're deteremined to push the humanoidization of robotics into the future -- a future that will make movie robots seem very 20th century.
Scott Budman admits he occasionally watches Bollywood movies.