Roboy is a humanoid robot under development at the University of Zürich’s Artificial Intelligence Lab and if you want to join in you can make a contribution via a crowdfunding scheme.
The team hopes that Roboy might become a blueprint for service robots that are able to work with humans and provide services such as support for elderly people. The robot stands 1.2 m tall and is driven by a series of mechanical tendons giving it the ability to move around. The tendon functionality in the robot is said to closely mimic the function of human tendons allowing Roboy to move like a human does.
This video shows progress on the project:
Currently, the robot is in the construction phase. So far development has involved the completion of the torso, computer-assisted drafting of the entire robot along with teaching the robot to move. The team announced in the middle of December that the robot was “getting a new face and has already moved his arms.” During the developmental phase the robot has exposed components but it will eventually be covered with a soft skin to make it more comfortable for humans to touch.
The team has turned to crowdfunding to raise money to complete the construction of the robot selling spaces onRoboy's body where names or company logos can be engraved. Different levels of reward are available for contributions starting at just 25 Swiss Frances (around $27.30) for a ticket to "Robots On Tour" all the way up to 20,000 for which you get a visit from Roboy to an event of your choice. At the time of writing the project has reached 295,000 of the 500,000 it needs to complete by the target of March 2013. A demo of Roboy is planed for the Robots On Tour exhibition.
There seems to be a sudden growth in the building of robotic hardware - it is a shame that this isn't matched by breakthroughs in robot software.