Move over helper monkeys, there's a new non-human assistant slowly shuffling into town.
An amateur roboticist in Japan has constructed a humanoid helper robot using only off-the-shelf components. The robot, called THKR-4, was an entrant in the 3rd ROBO-ONE Humanoid Helper Project, held in Yokohama, Japan.
In an early New Year celebration, THKR-4 walks to the fridge, opens it, and takes out a small bottle of what looks like champagne. The video then cuts to the robot pouring a drink, which is a little nerve-wracking, as it never seems to have that good a grip on the bottle. The robot also pulls the string on a party popper, and gives one of the men in the video a shoulder rub. Well, a shoulder poke anyway, as its fingers don't look like they actually move.
It's not clear whether the robot is autonomous, or has to be remote controlled. You never see a controller in the video, but the robot does have an antenna on its back, which might indicate it's being piloted by someone off-camera. Of course, that's just speculation and for all I know the robot might be hyper-intelligent and should be made president of the world. Obviously, THKR-4 isn't going to revolutionize the service industry just yet, but it's a good step towards robotic assistants, and all the more impressive when you consider that it was essentially built by a hobbyist.