Sanctuary's Latest Humanoid Robot

Sanctuary AI may not always be part of the conversation when discussing humanoid robotics alongside prominent firms like Boston Dynamics, Agility, Figure, and 1X. However, this Canadian company has been actively involved in this field for quite some time. Remarkably, the latest robot unveiled on Thursday marks the seventh iteration of its Phoenix series.

While a previous version introduced legs into the lineup, Sanctuary prioritizes developments from the waist upward. Notably, recent videos showcasing the newest robot primarily focus on its torso system. The Canadian firm emphasizes the robot’s human-like movements while performing tasks such as sorting products, highlighting its rapid learning capabilities.

While much attention in humanoid robotics has understandably centered on mechatronics—particularly the visual appeal of these robots navigating their surroundings—Sanctuary’s approach underscores the significance of robotic intelligence. Boston Dynamics recent video exemplifies how much can be conveyed in a brief clip.

Looking ahead, the intelligence of these robots will likely become increasingly crucial. While the concept of “general intelligence” remains abstract, many roboticists agree that we are still several years away from robots capable of learning new tasks akin to their human counterparts. Nonetheless, current systems can learn tasks rapidly. Sanctuary claims that its new Phoenix model can automate new tasks within 24 hours.

CEO Geordie Rose said that “With generation seven, we have a system that we believe is the most closely analogous to a person of any available. We see this as not only the cornerstone of general-purpose AI robotics but a critical step on the path to artificial general intelligence, and we’re thrilled to be leading the charge on it.

Sanctuary's AI Robot
Image Credits: Sanctuary AI 

The time required for learning tasks and the level of consistency likely vary depending on the task complexity. The tasks demonstrated in the video appear relatively straightforward, involving sorting objects by color in a controlled environment. Nonetheless, Sanctuary deserves recognition for deploying earlier systems and securing deals, such as the recent agreement to implement its systems in Magna auto manufacturing facilities.

Overall, the seventh-generation robot, introduced a year after its predecessor, brings further enhancements to the Phoenix line, including improved uptime, greater range of motion, reduced weight, and a more cost-effective bill of materials.

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