In a world designed to accommodate the shape of the human body, anthropomorphic robots could have advantages over wheeled and animal-shaped robots that could help them integrate into society more easily.

Scientists from the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Italian Institute of Technology) and University of Pisa in Italy have developed a humanoid robot that can operate human tools and interact with its environment in the same way a person would. They hope their Walk-Man robot will prove a more effective design for search and rescue scenarios where it’s too dangerous for humans to venture.

Lead researcher Nikos Tsagarakis believes the world won’t need to be adapted to accommodate Walk-Man, meaning it could eventually operate in damaged buildings; turning a heavy valve of lifting collapsed masonry, for example.

“There’s one factor that everyone agrees, that actually our world, our environment it was designed for our body basically. So, we have tools that are designed to be grasped by humanoid, human hands. You have also areas or access paths that are actually appropriate for our body forms. So it means that if you build a robot that has a very similar form, you need to adapt less the environment in order to have this robot operational within such a space,” Tsagarakis told Reuters.

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