Humanoid robot goes to work on Linux

HRP-2P is significantly more agile than R2-D2, and its creator Kawada says it will be good for more than just entertainment - this robot is designed to do useful work

Japanese manufacturer Kawada has released details of a Linux-based humanoid robot that it believes could be employed in the workplace.

The robot, called HRP-2P (which stands for Humanoid Robotics Project-2 Prototype) runs on a real-time version of the Linux operating system, called ART-Linux. ART-Linux is based on the well-known RT-Linux, which is designed for robotic applications, as well as data acquisition and systems control functions.

To see images of the HRP-2P robot, click here.

HRP-2P was designed to resemble a human, with similar degrees of freedom in its arms and legs. The silver and blue-coloured HRP-2P is 154cm tall (just over 5 feet), and weighs 58kg.

Kawada says it designed the robot to be functional and to carry out work, not simply to be entertaining. Owners of the HRP-2P will be able to edit its code to modify behaviour for various tasks, said the company.

Linux is proving a popular choice for robotics, partly due to the flexibility of the operating system -- developers can customise the code freely for their own purposes. Fujitsu created a robot based on Linux last year, called Hoap-1. In disclosing the internal architecture of Hoap-1 Fujitsu urged open-source developers to try and improve the robot's operating system code.

Kawada developed HRP-2P in collaboration with Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. The company is already developing a follow-up to HRP-2P, and has asked a TV animator to help with its design.

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