Meet Hermes ... the bipedal, bicoastal robot now calling Brooklyn home

bipedal robot

Hermes, a humanoid robot that Associate Professor Ludovic Righetti conducts research with. Photo credit: Luke Fisher Photography

Ludovic Righetti, an associate professor in Tandon’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is researching answers to some of his field’s major questions: What algorithms will allow for a robot to walk without falling, grasp objects without breaking them, and work safely around human beings?

He now has a new partner in those endeavors: Hermes, a humanoid robot manufactured by Sarcos U.S., one of the world’s premier robotics companies. Hermes is one of only four robots of his type ever made; two are in use in Japan, and one is at Carnegie Mellon University.

Hermes is a gift to Tandon from the University of Southern California, where Righetti served as a postdoctoral fellow in the school’s Computer Science Department. As such, he is one of the few researchers in the world with experience in working with the complex, specialized technology that goes into a robot like this one.  

Righetti, whose many honors include the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz-Preis from the German Research Foundation and the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Career Award, cautions that Hermes, while humanoid, is not quite as physically agile as an actual human. “This is a fascinating piece of machinery,” he says, “but no one should expect to hire a robotic dance instructor just yet.”