"Gangnam Style" is going robotic. A U.S. Navy humanoid robot is able to perform dance moves featured in the viral-video sensation.
Charli-2 is a five-foot-tall humanoid robot with incredible agility -- for a robot -- that features humanlike balance, according to Wired’s Danger Room. This is not an ordinary robot that lumbers around. In fact, it’s rather graceful, and it has the dance moves to prove it.
To demonstrate them, Charli-2’s creators had the robot dance to South Korean singer-songwriter PSY’s "Gangnam Style."
Charli-2 will not be used as just a novelty toy. The Navy plans to use the robot to fight fires in the future. The development of Charli-2 was led by Dennis Hong, director of the Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
The creation of Charli-2 was funded by a $3.5 million grant from the Navy to Hong for the development of an autonomous shipboard humanoid, or ASH. The goal of the project is to develop a robot that can be used on a ship to fight fires alongside human crew members. Balance is crucial on a ship that features narrow corridors, tight turns and steps.
The most important feature of Charli-2 is its stability, according to Hong. As he told Wired, “If you have a bipedal robot with a camera on its head, it’s shaking a lot, so how does the robot figure out where it is in the room?” This important question led to the development a stabilizing algorithm called simultaneous localization and mapping, or SLAM.
Charli-2’s abilities will be shown off next week at the annual Office of Naval Research science and technology showcase. And the Navy hopes to test Charli-2 in real-world situations on a ship next year. Charli-2’s descendent, ASH, will be enclosed in a suit to help protect it from heat and smoke.
Charli-2’s reputation as a fluid and flexible robot has long been cemented. He is the reigning RoboCupSoccer champion in the Humanoid League's adult-size competition, having won the event each of the past two years.
Watch the video of Charli-2 dancing "Gangnam Style" below.