Virginia Tech’s skinny, five-foot tall humanoid robot really does dance Gangnam Style, and according to Danger Room, the Navy hopes his descendants will some day fight fires aboard ships.
The Navy has been experimenting with a different robot, the similarly lifelike Octavia, on the same program to build a robot that works with human sailors to fight shipboard fires. Octavia, however, has a wheeled chassis. She will never do anything Gangnam Style. And since ships are filled with “knee-knocker” passageways, ladders and steps, the Navy needs a robot that — at least theoretically — can.
But CHARLI-2 isn’t going to be a prima donna on ship. Starting next year, the Navy will start “making sure it can walk along [a ship’s] aisles, and probably by the end of next year, put it in a smoky environment,”