Move over Asimo, Hubo is more human and less of a puppet and more of a robot. The developer, Dr. Jun-ho Oh of the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, says that Hubo has three big advantages over other robots.
First Hubo is Korean.
Second Hubo has five fingers that can work independently.
Third Hubo has no backpack or other restrictions.
My fourth would be that Hubo is motivated by “artistic rather than purely engineering concerns.”
There are other differences. Hubo took only 2 years to complete while Asimo took nearly 15. Hubo cost about $1 million (US$) to build while Asimo cost over $15 million. The Hubo team was a small quick team of only about 5 developers (says Oh).
When we were at the NextFest preview, Hubo was locked up in customs in Anchorage. So we went back specifically to see him in “person” Hubo has very fluid movements and does an amusing version of Korean Tai Chi. He does have trouble walking on soft surfaces tho.
The most promising and delightful development at NextFest was the interchange between David Hanson and Dr. Oh. David is already conspiring with Oh to add a Philip K Dick like pliable face and AI to Hubo. Since, according to Hanson, the PKDA (Philip K Dick Andriod) only requires some AA batteries to power it, the face and brain could drop right on Hubo with not too much reengineering.