A two-legged bot that’s shorter than a standard ballpoint pen just snatched the Guinness World Record for smallest humanoid robot.
The tiny bot, built by members of a school robotics team in Hong Kong, stands just 5.5 inches tall. That makes it a little less than half an inch shorter than the previous record holder, Zain Ahmad Qureshi of Pakistan.
To nab the record for smallest humanoid robot, a bot has to be more than just a toy. It must be capable of bipedal movement and articulating its shoulders, elbows, knees and hips. The latest record winner not only walks and moves its arms, however. It can be programmed to dance, do kung-fu and play soccer, though it’s no David Beckham (at least not yet).
Four members of the robotics team at the Diocesan Boys’ School for seventh to 12th graders designed and engineered the bot, which moves with the help of servo motors. The servos are manipulated via a control board attached to the robot’s back that can be operated via onboard control buttons or a mobile app.
Students Isaac Zachary To, Aaron Ho Yat Fung, Justin Wang Tou Duong and Ngo Hei Leung designed and produced the robot’s acrylic panels and 3D-printed components in the school’s robotics lab. It’s powered by a 7.4V lithium-ion battery.
In the Guinness World Records video below, the DBS Robotics team said it decided to make the robot as small as possible so it can be mass-produced at lower cost. The team members said they envision a day when every household in Hong Kong and beyond, regardless of income, will have easy access to an affordable little programmable robot as an educational tool.
“We also plan to open-source the design and programming code to further our objectives of promoting STEAM education,” team member To told Guinness World Records.
Few things promote STEAM education better than school robotics, which have a passionate following among kids worldwide who spend countless extracurricular hours preparing for robotics contests that blend advanced engineering skills with the thrill of competitive sports.
A month ago, FIRST, a nonprofit promoting science, engineering and technology education, kicked off its popular annual robotics competition, which tasks high-schoolers around the globe with building an industrial-size bot that can navigate challenges along a complex course. More than 3,300 international teams of bot-loving teens duked it out for the world champion title last year.
Past robots have set Guinness World Records for strongest robot arm, largest robotic arm in space, fastest robot to solve a Rubik’s cube (.38 seconds) and first robot babysitter. The sitter has two two stereoscopic camera “eyes” to recognize surroundings and faces and eight microphone “ears” to detect and recognize speech. It has a 3,000-word vocabulary.
Now, if the DBS Robotics boffins can turn the world’s smallest humanoid robot into the world’s smallest babysitting humanoid robot, they might just have another world record on their hands.