Engineers from the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) have created a jetpack-wearing humanoid robot.
The iRonCub has been designed to meet the very real need for robots to overcome impassable terrain and help during disaster response. However, this has been overshadowed by the inclusion of a creepy, doll-like face.
iRonCub differs from well established robots like Boston Dynamics Atlas as he packs a Jet Engines on each arm (and two more on its back) to effortlessly blast over difficult to navigate terrain.
The video the team released shows a real-world test, with iRonCub wearing a pair of shiny protective pants while its four jet engines propel it across the group.
Technically speaking the robot can’t hover yet, but the team were able to demonstrate a change in its weight using a pair of scales during the test.
Daniele Pucci, head of the Artificial and Mechanical Intelligence lab at IIT, explained to IEEE Spectrum that “aerial humanoid robotics extends aerial manipulation to a more robust and energy-efficient level [and] in fact, aerial manipulation is often exemplified by quadrotors equipped with a robotic arm”.
The team believe that even if their robot doesn’t ‘take off’ commercially it could be used to test other technologies like flying exoskeletons for real-life human beings.