A Humanoid Robot is a robot with its overall appearance based on that of the human body. In general humanoid robots have a torso with a head, two arms and two legs, although some forms of humanoid robots may model only part of the body, for example, from the waist up. Some humanoid robots may also have a 'face', with 'eyes' and 'mouth'. Androids are humanoid robots built to resemble a male human, and Gynoids are humanoid robots built to resemble a human female, however the term 'Android' is often used in reference to both sexes.
A humanoid robot is an autonomous robot because it can adapt to changes in its environment or itself and continue to reach its goal. This is the main difference between humanoid and other kinds of robots. In this context, some of the capacities of a humanoid robot may include, among others:
- self maintenance (recharge itself)
- autonomous learning (learn or gain new capabilities without outside assistance, adjust strategies based on the surroundings and adapt to new situations)
- avoiding harmful situations to people, property, and itself
- safe interacting with human beings and the environment
Like other mechanical robots, humanoid refer to the following basic components too: Sensing, Actuating and Planning and Control. Since they try to simulate the human structure and behaviour and they are autonomous systems, most of the times humanoid robots are more complex than other kinds of robots.
Humanoid robots are used as a research tool in several scientific areas.
A sensor is a device that measures some attribute of the world. Being one of the three primitives of robotics (besides planning and control), sensing plays an important role in robotic paradigms.
Actuators are the motors responsible for motion in the robot.
Humanoid robots are constructed in such a way that they mimic the human body, so they use actuators that perform like muscles and joints, though with a different structure. To achieve the same effect as human motion, humanoid robots use mainly rotary actuators. They can be either electric, pneumatic, hydraulic, piezoelectric or ultrasonic.
In planning and control the essential difference between humanoids and other kinds of robots (like industrial ones) is that the movement of the robot has to be human-like, using legged locomotion, especially biped gait. The ideal planning for humanoid movements during normal walking should result in minimum energy consumption, like it happens in the human body. For this reason, studies on dynamics and control of these kinds of structures become more and more important.
Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)
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