The Battle of the Humanoid Robot Music Video, DARPA’s Atlas versus NAO…

Our humanoid robotic brethren continue to evolve at an astounding rate, while many never seem to be able to find their way out of the lab a small number have evolved to the advanced level of being able to perform in music videos.

Presented for your viewing pleasure tonight is the Battle of the Humanoid Robots Music Video, featuring two of the most advanced robotic creations battle it out on the dance floor. DARPA’s Atlas superhuman robot will match its moves against the little Astroboy wonder that is Nao.

The pinnacle of technological design presented in music video form, a music video montage of the robotic kind.  Which cybernetic dance machine makes the best music video?

Technically we have to admit that the greatest dancing robot music video of all time is Hell Yes by Beck. The stars of the video are a troop of dancing Sony Qrio (pronounced Curio) robots, robots that were shelved by Sony a number of years ago.

Nao H25 Next Gen aka AstroBoy

NAO features
NAO features

With a swivel in his step and a shuffle step Nao effortlessly performs his little dance. The most advanced fully programmable autonomous humanoid robot currently available can indeed do the dance.

Resembling AstroBoy the two foot tall Nao started life as soccer playing robot for the RoboCub in Europe (Robocup Standard Platform League). Produced by Aldebaran Robotics Labs Nao is the standard robot player for the leagues organizers, allowing them to guarantee the winner of the Cup would be decided by clever programming, not robot brawn.

Nao (pronounced now) has since evolved into a standardized robot development platform for many robotics labs and educational institutions, helping to encourage the next generation of programmers working on the problems of robotics. Nao has also found home helping to teach Autistic children. With many schools purchasing them as a teaching aid and class mascot or, dare we say, pet.

NAO dance
NAO dance’s

Nao’s feature list could double as a technological achievement / milestone list for robotics in general. Face and speech recognition allows for natural interaction with people, recent updates now even allow Nao to interpret emotions. Touch sensitive hands that can adapt their grip along with 8 foot pad sensors used to adapt walking style to terrain. He can even brace for a fall when he trips then get himself back to his feet. All driven by an Intel Atom CPU.

This little robot that can is now even able to plug himself into the newly developed charge station, flicking the plug free like a western gun slinger once he’s fully charged. Synchronization across robots is also developing, demonstrated by the dancing troops of Nao. This is a feature that is essential for teamwork, allowing multiple robots to tackle a single task together.

Robots are now at the stage where their brains must evolve, the software driving these new cybernetic friends is steadily becoming more intelligent. This evolution can be seen occurring at the RoboCup, the Nao’s have come a long way since they first played soccer in 2007. There is still have a very long way to go though, with a lot of falling down still happening.



The Atlas video may be more robotic montage than music video but it more than makes up for it with the intimidating Terminator look of the exposed robotic skeleton combined with the speed and dexterity of this cybernetic hulk.

DARPA and Boston Dynamics latest humanoid robot is the imposing Terminator like 6 foot 2 Atlas. Developed as a part of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, which is set to conclude next year, Atlas is the pinnacle of what is possible, destined to become the first generation advanced general purpose robot. The final stages of the challenge will see a number of teams building a brain for Atlas, the winning design will receive a $2 million prize along with ongoing funding from DARPA.

DARPA’s has bought many teams together for Atlas, drawing on Sandia Labs to gave a hand literally by providing the touch sensitive hands and fingers from its iRobot project. Vision was provided by Carnegie Robotics with the melon heads providing their LIDAR and twin camera stereo optics.

Honorable mention has to be given to the greatest robot to almost make it to market, the tragically shelved Sony Qrio. Still holder of the greatest robot music video of all time with the very catchy Hell Yes.

Sony Qrio
Sony Qrio

The HRP-4C is another example of the incredible speed of evolution occurring in robotics. Possibly the most humanoid appearng robot to date, describes as a cybernetic human. AIST (Advanced Industrial Science and Technology) have give their robot human features and hand via a very skin like silicon substance. The face actually sort of works but for some reason the hands seem a little creepy. AIST’s also have much work to do on the movement and AI for their cybernetic creation.

Unfortunate the by product of AIST’s cybernetic human work may just see HRP being the first cybernetic sex worker, yes there are rumors and YouTube videos pointing to a digital hooker.

Asimo by Honda has some of the most fluid movement of any robot but its safe and steady walking style makes it the least natural. Roboy is a promising new project that already has a very cool music video, a robot still in development but one to keep an eye on.

The next technological revolution will be a robotic one, a revolution long in the making is now knocking on the door. Many labs have perfected the hardware so now the software race has begun, platforms such as Nao and Atlas will be the staging area for this software race but the final destination may bring surprises. Will the race spawn artificial intelligence or will robots remain simply a smart machine? And is Nao everything you could every want in a robot friend?

Reference: ExtremeTech: DARPA Atlas
Reference: Aldabaran Robotic Labs – NAO
Reference: Roboy