The world of humanoid robots is exploding, and new demos are coming out seemingly every day. I'm keeping a list updated with every current humanoid effort that has at least a public demo video. You'll see dozens of projects at all scales, from one guy in his garage, to growing startups, to multinational conglomerates. Even if you follow the field pretty closely, I guarantee there will be at least one or two in this list you haven't seen yet. And there's even one you can buy right now! Scroll on to see them all, starting with some of the lesser known ones:
MagicLab seems to be a very new Chinese startup. I can't find much information on them and their website is down at the moment, but just in the past few weeks they have suddenly posted several YouTube demos, including one with a set of jumping legs and this one of humanoid arms doing various household tasks:
Kind Humanoid "Mona"
Kind Humanoid appears to be the effort of one man, Christoph Kohstall, out of his garage in Palo Alto since 2019. But he is currently hiring! In this video from November his robot "Mona" demonstrates (slow) walking, pushups, and grabbing objects.
Stealth YC Startup "Stompy"
The W24 batch of Y Combinator startups includes this little guy, another Palo Alto garage creation. I don't know the name of the company yet but the robot is named Stompy. This is the only video available for now but he will supposedly be unveiled next week. One of the founders has a blog post describing the company so far.
> hello world pic.twitter.com/dsExNY8FIn— Matt Freed (@_mattfreed) February 17, 2024
Austin, Texas-based Apptronik started as a team working on NASA's Valkyrie robot in 2012, and have worked on several interesting projects since then, but didn't raise VC funding until 2023 to develop their humanoid "Apollo". They are initially targeting warehouse applications with pilot deployments this year and commercial availability in early 2025.
1X Technologies "NEO"
1X has been around for almost a decade, but recently changed their name and got some buzz with an investment from OpenAI. The name 1X pokes fun at the robotics community's tendency to exaggerate the speed of their robots by playing their videos back at 2x or 4x speed or even faster. They are based in Norway, with an AI lab in Silicon Valley.
1X is developing a true humanoid with legs named "NEO". But the particular demo I want to show you uses their previous generation robot, "EVE", which rolls on wheels. Of all the demos on this page, this one in particular shows why now is the time to be working on humanoid robots. Many of the other demos represent teleoperation or pre-scripted movements, but this one demonstrates how advances in AI are just starting to enable true autonomy. 1X VP of AI Eric Jang says: "Every behavior you see in this video is controlled from pixels to actions with a single neural net architecture. No teleop, no scripted replay or task specific code, no CGI, all in one continuous video shot":
Agility Robotics "Digit"
Agility Robotics spun off from Oregon State University's Dynamic Robotics Laboratory in 2015.
Digit has backward knees, but I'll still count it as a humanoid. They have partnered with Amazon and already have Digit doing work alongside humans in a real Amazon warehouse. Agility is building a factory in Oregon with first production planned this year, building up to an eventual production capacity of up to 10,000 units per year.
The State University System of Florida's Institute for Human & Machine Cognition has been doing research since 1990. Their humanoid robot "Nadia" uses a combination of electric and hydraulic actuators. For this demonstration they have given it boxing gloves, which is interesting as most companies have shied away from suggesting that their robots might ever participate in any kind of combat.
The "Agi" in Agibot stands for Artificial General Intelligence. They are a Chinese startup reportedly formed in December 2022, developing a humanoid called "Raise-A1". The walking looks a bit unsteady for now but overall it looks impressive if it really started development just over a year ago (which I find hard to believe). The below video is a very detailed and informative presentation by the founder of the company, and worth watching. For example, he explains why they chose the backward knee design.
Figure is a new (less than two years old) Silicon Valley startup making a humanoid robot. They have announced a $675 million investment round and a collaboration with OpenAI to put their AI in Figure robots, as well as a partnership with BMW to put their robots to work in car factories.
LimX Dynamics "CL-1"
LimX Dynamics was founded in 2022 in China. Their first product is a dog robot with wheels for feet, but their second product is a humanoid called "CL-1". Their latest video showcases their teleoperation setup to collect training data for learning control algorithms.
Unitree is a Chinese company well known for their line of affordable robot dogs which have been commercially available for many years. They have just released their first humanoid, "H1". It may be the only robot on this list that has a seemingly working "Add to cart" button on its online store! Although you shouldn't pay the list price of $150,000 given the "Contact us for the real price" disclaimer below it. Clearly at least one unit has escaped Unitree, because UCSD researchers already posted a charming video of their unit dancing and high-fiving under neural net control. Unitree itself claims the world speed record for full size humanoid robots at 3.3 m/s:
Unitree H1 Breaking humanoid robot speed world record [full-size humanoid] Evolution V3.0 🥰— Unitree (@UnitreeRobotics) March 1, 2024
The humanoid robot driven by the robot AI world model unlocks many new skills!
Strong power is waiting for you to develop!#Unitree #AI #subject3 #BlackTech pic.twitter.com/fTAgilCO5p
PAL Robotics "Kangaroo"
PAL Robotics was founded all the way back in 2004 in Barcelona, Spain, and they have been working on humanoids from the start. For many years they have sold two different models of humanoids to researchers, "REEM-C" and "TALOS". Their most recent development, though, is a leg-only locomotion research platform called "Kangaroo". Although it's not a full humanoid it's clearly their most advanced hardware, and presumably will eventually get arms like their other offerings.
Toyota Research Institute "Punyo"
Toyota has shown many humanoid robot prototypes over the years. Their latest doesn't actually have legs yet, but is interesting for a different reason: It's the first I've seen to be extensively covered in tactile sensors with cushioning that allow it to safely grasp large and unwieldy items with its arms and torso.
Kepler Exploration Robotics is a relatively new startup based in Shanghai. They have been working on "Forerunner" since 2020, and claim a price of $30,000 with availability later this year, though I would take both with a grain of salt.
Car companies love robots in their factories and that seems to encourage them to develop humanoids. Tesla follows in the footsteps of Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai with their new program "Optimus". Optimus was announced in 2021 with a dancer in a silver unitard rather than actual hardware, but Tesla has since progressed quickly through several generations of robot bodies, with research occuring in their Silicon Valley offices. Elon Musk has speculated that production of units for customers could begin as early as 2025 with a price "probably less than $20,000". He's famously "optimistic" about timelines and prices, but there's no doubt that Tesla is serious about the project.
Boston Dynamics "Atlas"
You probably know Atlas, but perhaps haven't seen this latest impressive demo from just a few days ago that wasn't posted to their main YouTube channel.
Boston Dynamics started as a spin-off from MIT in 1992. Originally supported by military contracts, they were acquired by Google which ended military involvement, then sold to SoftBank and on to their current owners Hyundai. But despite churn on the business side of things, they have consistently been at the cutting edge of humanoid robot technology.
Possibly the most famous humanoid robot and certainly the most agile, Atlas can perform backflips and parkour. But it didn't have hands until recently. This latest demo is their first to demonstrate complex manipulation with hands on Atlas.
Sanctuary AI "Phoenix"
Sanctuary AI is a Canadian startup founded in 2018. They are developing a humanoid with a focus on teleoperation to collect training data for future autonomy. This video showcases their teleoperation system.
The second-largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world, Chinese Xiaomi also makes laptops, watches, scooters, drones, vacuums, smart fish tanks, and now a humanoid robot. Honestly this one looks pretty lame to me right now, but perhaps it could evolve into a real product eventually by copying more successful designs.
Fourier Intelligence "GR-1"
Fourier Intelligence is a Chinese company that has been working on exoskeletons and other devices for medical rehabilitation applications since 2015. They claim to have the "first mass produced humanoid robot" with their "GR-1". While the robot is "available for pre-order", there is no online ordering or pricing information or delivery timeframe. But they clearly have made at least a dozen or so based on this video, which is more full size humanoid robots than I've ever seen in one place before.
UBTECH Robotics "Walker X"
UBTECH Robotics is a Chinese company in operation since 2012. They have manufactured toy/miniature humanoids for many years, but recently have been working on full size humanoids as well. Their "Walker X" looks very similar to Honda's ASIMO in operation; that is to say it moves stiffly and walks slowly. I'd say their technology is outdated, unless they have a new generation in development that they haven't revealed yet.
Zhejiang University "Wukong 4"
The Robotics Laboratory of the College of Control Science and Engineering at Zhejiang University in China has produced this robot that bears a strong resemblance in shape and gait to early videos of Boston Dynamics' Atlas.
Dreame Technology Eponymous
Dreame Technology was founded in 2017. They are a Chinese manufacturer of household appliances such as hair dryers and vacuums. From vacuums they moved into robot vacuums, then produced a prototype robot dog, and now are showcasing a full size humanoid. I haven't found a name for it other than "Dreame", and its walking speed looks extremely slow, but apparently it can make latte art.
XPeng Motors is a Chinese electric car company founded in 2014. And of course they're making a humanoid too. It's a prototype for now. Amusingly, they have it riding a Segway in this video.
Similar to UBTECH, Lejurobot is a Chinese company that has been producing toy/miniature humanoids for a while and is now attempting a full size version. It looks a bit more advanced than UBTECH's Walker X, but behind the cutting edge.
Westwood Robotics "THEMIS"
Westwood Robotics was founded in 2018 by some engineers from UCLA. They have a "kid-size" humanoid called BRUCE which is currently advertised for sale at $15,290 for research and education, and they are working on a full size humanoid called THEMIS as well.
Dataa Robotics "XR4"
CloudMinds/Dataa Robotics was founded in 2015 in Shanghai. They manufacture several types of wheeled robots and provide cloud-based robot management software. Their full humanoid effort is called "XR4" and they just posted a video of it to YouTube in January. It looks quite early but is able to walk in the lab.
Kawasaki Robotics "Robust Humanoid Platform"
Japanese conglomerate Kawasaki Heavy Industries manufactures motorcycles, trains, ships, power plants, jetskis, and industrial robots, among many other things. They have a humanoid program that has gone through many generations of designs. Their latest is "RHP Kaleido" 7th generation. I believe the video below is demonstrating the 6th generation design, but it showcases lots of different tasks.
I don't know about you, but until recently I assumed that the status quo, humanoid robots being essentially a novelty, would continue throughout my lifetime. After all, Honda's ASIMO has been wobbling around since the year 2000, and it hasn't impacted our lives in the slightest. The sole useful household robot, the Roomba, has been practically unchanged in design and capabilities since 2002! Extrapolating that progress into the future painted a dim picture.
For decades, robot hardware has been far more capable than software. Robot arms can lift cars and perform heart surgery, but only when humans precisely specify and control their every move.
Now something has changed. ChatGPT has created wide awareness of the recent accelerating progress in AI. Language models do have direct applications in robotics, but more importantly the same GPU-filled datacenters that train the likes of GPT-4 can train robot controllers just as well. The number of people working in AI is skyrocketing. Companies are frantically installing as many GPUs as TSMC's factories can churn out, and the torrent of research papers on ArXiv is never-ending.
AI is poised to solve the software problems holding robotics back, and this is incredibly exciting. Useful general purpose humanoid robots are not only possible, but coming within our lifetimes and possibly this decade! Just as our world today has been transformed by ubiquitous smartphones, the world of our children will be transformed even more profoundly by ubiquitous robots, and we will see it happen.
Have you seen any recent humanoid demos I missed? Share them in the comments below!