Newly designed military robot dances Gangnam Style

December 11, 2012

Newly designed military robot dances Gangnam Style

Engineers at Virginia Tech’s RoMeLa lab programmed Charli-2 to dance Gangnam Style.

South Korean rapper Psy’s Gangnam Style has taken the internet by storm. The video, which has received more than half a billion views on YouTube, has also been parodied by people all over the world (including a parody by the Oregon Ducks that has received more than five million views).

Now, the Navy has entered the world of Gangnam Style parodies with its Autonomous Shipboard Humanoid (ASH) known as Charli-2. The robot engineers at Virginia Tech University, who created the ASH, were able to recreate all of Psy’s now famous moves, including horse riding and the lasso twirl.

According to Virginia Tech University, the five-foot tall ASH was constructed by graduate and undergraduate students at the Virginia Tech College of Engineering’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory.

CHARLI (which stands for Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence) is not only the first robot to dance Gangnam Style, it is also the first untethered, autonomous, full-sized, walking humanoid robot with four moving limbs and a head, developed in the United States.

“This is a significant milestone in robotics engineering and is a testament to the technological leadership of Virginia Tech’s RoMeLa lab,” said Tom Atwood, editor of “Robot” magazine, at the time of the robot’s unveiling.

While the Navy sees Charli-2 as a forerunner for creating a Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot, the director of Virginia Tech’s RoMeLa lab believes robots like Charli-2 are an important challenge for robot engineers.

“The environment we live in is designed for humans: The step size of stairs, the height of door handles, etc., are designed by humans for humans,” said Dennis Hong, associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of RoMeLa, in a statement. “Thus for a robot to live among us and to serve us, it needs human size and form. Thus humanoids. But, manipulation with hands, perception, intelligence, and autonomy are all important and difficult research problems that need to be addressed.”

While the video will probably receive millions of views, the parody is likely to fall a few hundred million views short of the original Gangnam Style video.


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