The UCLA roboticist unveils his latest crop of creatures in a TEDx talk and takes one for a stroll on campus
From the moment he saw C-3PO and R2-D2 waddle across the screen in “Star Wars” as a 7-year-old, Dennis Hong knew he wanted to build robots.
These days, the professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and his students at RoMeLa, the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, are busy designing a new generation of humanoid robots — advanced machines capable of a variety of tasks, from walking, jumping and climbing walls to cooking and performing magic.
The idea, Hong says, is that his lab’s work will eventually lead to robots that can assist the blind or elderly in their daily tasks, for instance, or perform dangerous jobs like clearing landmines and responding to disasters. But the possibilities are endless.
In his Jan. 27 TEDx talk, Hong unveiled unveiled some of RoMeLa’s newest creations and spoke about his team’s approach to robotics research. “Openness, freedom, trust, having fun and truly believing what you can do to change the world — these are some of the secrets behind our next seven species of robots,” he said.
And if you missed RoMeLa’s robot ARTEMIS taking a stroll across campus last week, here’s the video: