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October 24, 2012

Do the Robot, Gangnam Style: Famous YouTube Clip Inspires Trait in Navy Robot

The best thing about viral videos is that they know no bounds in what they can give birth to. That couldn’t be more true with PSY’s “Gangnam Style” YouTube video, which inspired a little more than a copycat version by some students in Virginia.

Student engineers at Virginia Tech recently gave a whole new meaning to “doing the robot,” developing the first ever robot programmed to play soccer, and, oh yeah – dance Gangnam Style with the moves immortalized in PSY’s famous Internet clip.

CHARLI was the students’ first-generation robot developed to “study and mimic how we walk,” according to Technorati. The humanoid, a product of the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory at VTech, has since been upgraded to CHARLI-2, which does a pretty excellent job celebrating the video’s already 500 million views since it first posted on YouTube.

Check it out below.

CHARLI-2 has been designed to play soccer independently for the RoboCup soccer competition, held annually worldwide. The event was hosted in Mexico City last June.

As creative as the five-foot tall dancing robot is, however, its main purpose in its next stage will be to assist Navy soldiers in sailing duties such as tending to hard-to-reach areas and putting out shipboard fires.

“If a robot can do all the tasks that come with fighting a fire, it can do all these other things on ships, like mopping the deck,” Dennis Hong, one of the engineers behind the project, said in a report by Wired. “It’s like the Swiss Army knife of robotics.”

CHARLI-2 is the test platform for what is to be the Navy’s next handy machine, known as the Autonomous Shipboard Humanoid, or ASH. It’s a safe bet he won’t lose his roots in hip-hop, though, and take some shipmen to school in a dance-off, Gangnam Style.

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