Advanced robots for rescue, work and well-being

The most advanced robots coming our way is much more than just a super-efficient domestic helper, a productive factory hand or a gizmo that barks and acts like a dog.

The world of action heroes might become a reality soon with the unveiling of a Terminator-like Atlas Robot (top left in photo) by US Pentagon defence organisation last month. One of the most advanced humanoid robots ever built, the six-foot-two, 330-pound future soldier is packed with the latest technologies to enable it to perform tasks such as rescue a victim or soldier trapped in a rubble.

Equipped with an on-board, real-time control computer, a hydraulic pump and thermal management, it has two arms, two legs, a torso and a head to perform a wide range of natural movements, reported Reuters. Still under development, the amazing robot boasts 28 hydraulically actuated joints and a sophisticated sensor head developed by Carnegie Robotics.

Other admirable innovations in robotics recently are those made with muscles and those capable of showing human emotions.

Some offer human-like interactions, right down to their touch - thanks to the artificial skin on their hands. They can fetch a handphone from your bag, wipe your mouth with a napkin after a meal, or perhaps, wipe away your tears. Especially a great help to the bed-ridden.

Even the ever-popular R2-D2 robots, which have provided pleasure to gizmo and tech enthusiasts for decades, have become more sophisticated. They can zip around and whistle like the movie character in Star Wars.

The force is definitely still with us - even an advanced robotic hand has been named after Luke Skywalker.