The influx of androids, many featuring smoother movement and more artificial intelligence than before, were shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, where 35 exhibitors demonstrated the latest humanoid developments.
The most bizarre stunt featured two robots invading and performing at a strip club.
And then there was Sophia.
Sophia is arguably one of the world’s most famous robots. She has been on chat shows, given speeches and even has been made a citizen of Saudi Arabia.
This week she was equipped with legs for the first time thanks to a collaboration between her maker Hanson Robotics, Rainbow Robotics, and Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab.
Hanson Robotics chief scientist Dr Ben Goertzel said giving the robot a more complete form was an important step towards equipping her “with general intelligence at the human level and ultimately beyond”.
The new legs, which can move at a top speed of 30cm per second, even allowed her to dance a little.
But the most notable robotic dance at CES was reserved for the Sapphire Gentleman’s Club, where two scantily clad robots with CCTV cameras for heads gyrated around poles for the amusement of attendees and locals.
While many suspected a canny tech start-up was behind the creations, the robot dancers were actually the work of English scrap metal artist Giles Walker who said he wanted to make a statement about “how everyone is being watched”.
Other robots at CES did indeed promise to watch humans, including the adorable Buddy from Blue Frog Robotics, who could be programmed to wake up members of the family, remind them of events, control smart appliances, and patrol the home like a security guard, capturing footage with a built-in camera.
Buddy will sell for $US1500 ($AUD1900) at its release later this year.
Another cute robot, the return of Sony’s Aibo puppy, won hearts and more attention than any of its new TVs at CES.
The upgraded canine robot featured OLED eyes, a webcam nose, more than 4000 parts, and 22 actuators for more realistic movement.
Aibo fans can pat him on the back, the head, or under the chin to see his reaction, and he uses that webcam in his nose to recognise who delivered the pat.
The new Aibo is more expensive than many dogs, however, at the Australian equivalent of $2250.
Right now Aibo is only scheduled for launch in Japan.
A Scrabble-playing robot from Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute also proved popular at CES this, placing cubed letters on a large scrabble board to beat human players.
**Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson travelled to Las Vegas as a guest of Samsung.