REEM B Humanoid Service Robot May Give ASIMO A Run (Ok, Stroll) For Its Money

Spanish company PAL Technology's ultimate goal is to develop a humanoid service robot, and REEM B is the latest prototype they've produced. The robot can navigate autonomously around buildings, identify and interact with people and objects and carry heavy weights. He may not be as nippy or sleek as Honda's ASIMO—his top speed is just under one mile an hour—but he's stronger than the latter, as you can see in the video.

REEM B's hands can perform some pretty sophisticated movements, even if he looks a little wobbly climbing stairs. The robot can recognise voice commands, maps the surrounding environment automatically and operates for two hours on one battery charge.

The demonstration of him lifting 17 lbs of water makes ASIMO's efforts with a paltry tray of coffee seem pretty weak, doesn't it? In fact, REEM B can lift up to 25% of its own weight. While he's clearly got some way to go until he can operate as a robot maid/butler, it seems that my dreams of a future tended by robot servants may not be so far-fetched. [New Launches]