Xiaomi has just unveiled its first humanoid robot: CyberOne. This €100,000 machine is capable of walking naturally, perceiving its environment and even detecting human emotions. By presenting its robot just a month before Tesla, Xiaomi may have taken the wind out of Elon Musk’s sails… but can it really compete with the Optimus? Find out all you need to know.
In 2021, Elon Musk unveiled Optimus: a humanoid robot with the artificial intelligence of a Tesla autonomous car. This machine is supposed to replace humans for tedious tasksand take care of the chores in thatched cottages.
In a few years’ time, Musk envisions a world where every family has a domestic robot at home. According to him, the price will be prohibitive for the general public at first, but will quickly come down along with production costs. Eventually, robots will be cheaper than cars.
But there’s a catch: the model Tesla presented on stage was an empty shell. It was merely a mannequin. The first working prototype will be presented on September 30, 2022 as part of Tesla AI Day.
Tesla has just been cut off at the knees by Xiaomi. On August 11, 2022, the Chinese technology giant presented in Beijing its own bipedal robot: the CyberOne.
What is Xiaomi CyberOne?
– Xiaomi (@Xiaomi) August 12, 2022
The Xiaomi CyberOne weighs 52 kilos, and measures 177 centimetres. It moves by walking like a human, and can reach a maximum speed of 3.6 kilometers per hour. This is just below the average walking speed.
It is equipped with hands that can open and close. However, they do not yet appear capable of more precise movements, and are more like mittens than 10-fingered hands.
The machine has 21 degrees of freedom of movementand achieves a real-time response time of 0.5 milliseconds for each degree of freedom. This enables it to fully simulate human movements.
The motion performance of a robot depends on the performance of each joint motor, and it is necessary to generate more kinetic energy for the motors without increasing the size of the components. To maximize performance, Xiaomi has developed a 500-gram motor.
L’humanoid control algorithm allows CyberOne to adopt a natural, stable gait. In addition, the robot is capable of carrying up to 1.5 kilos with one hand.
A robot capable of recognizing 45 human emotions
The CyberOne’s navigation is based on a computer vision system developed by Xiaomi. The Mi-Sense module is capable of perceive space in 3D and depth at a maximum distance of eight meters.
The robot can also recognize people and gestures thanks to an algorithm. According to Xiaomi, this vision system is even capable of perceive human emotions using AI to identify facial expressions.
In addition, the robot can recognize 85 different environmental sounds. To enable it to interact and socialize with humans, Xiaomi has equipped it with a semantic recognition engine and a vocal emotion identification engine.
All in all, the robot can distinguish 45 human emotions. If you are sad, CyberOne can even console you. An OLED module displays interactive information in real time.
A limited humanoid robot
For the time being, if Xiaomi’s demonstration is anything to go by, the CyberOne remains limited. The robot has mainly content to walk on stage. He also began a few shuffling-type dance steps, but his fluidity left something to be desired.
What’s more, in the presentation video shared by Xiaomi, the CyberOne often falls over. It also seems unable to stand up on its own.
Xiaomi CEO Lein Jun states that new features will be added all the time to CyberOne. What’s more, like its previously presented CyberDog quadruped robot, its open-source nature will enable developers to create applications, customize it or even add equipment.
What is Xiaomi CyberOne for?
One of the uses of the Xiaomi CyberOne will be to keeping elderly people company or lonely people. Its emotion detection system, its ability to console and its OLED screen enable it to interact with humans and bring them comfort. Among other applications, Xiaomi also cites manufacturing assistance.
According to Xiaomi, the CyberOne is primarily ” a symbol of Xiaomi’s dedication to incubating a technological ecosystem “. The firm’s CEO, Lei Jun, promises that work on this robot ” will give rise to more application scenarios in other fields “.
CEO and company founder Lei Jun stresses that all the CyberOne’s mechanical capabilities and AI are developed by the Xiaomi Robotics Lab. He explains that the company ” a invested heavily in research and development in various fields, including software, hardware and algorithmic innovation “.
According to him, ” with AI as the heart and a humanoid frame life-size ship, this is an exploration of the possibilities of Xiaomi’s future technological ecosystem and a new breakthrough for the company. “.
Just like Tesla, Xiaomi seems to be relying on users to develop new use cases for its humanoid robot. Whatever the case, it’s clear that AI-powered humanoid robots are set to improve rapidly, and will soon be able to perform a wide range of tasks…
Xiaomi CyberOne vs Tesla Optimus
You don’t have to look very far to find out where Xiaomi got its inspiration for the CyberOne. The robot bears a striking resemblance to the Tesla Optimus. A comparison between the two is therefore in order.
Like many of you no doubt, we’d love to see a boxing match between the two robots. Unfortunately, at the price of these machines, we’ll have to make do with a technical comparison.
The Tesla Bot measures 172 cm for 56 kilos. It is therefore slightly smaller and heavier than the CyberOne. It will use Tesla’s Autopilot AI to recognize real-world objects, with its own sensors and actuators.
It will be able to lift 68 kilos, carry 20 kilos and walk at a maximum speed of 8 kilometers per hour. So it’s also faster than CyberOne.
For the moment, Tesla has yet presented a working prototype of his robot. It is therefore difficult to know whether this machine will have more capabilities.
Be that as it may, Elon Musk seems more ambitious than Xiaomi. He promises that his robot will be able to play the role of butler, and already claimed at the presentation that it would be able to follow complex human commands.
For example, it will be possible to give him a shopping list and send it to the store. More recently, Musk described the Tesla Optimus as ” a general-purpose humanoid robot “ which ” will replace people for repetitive, boring and dangerous tasks “.
Of course, as usual, Tesla’s CEO tempers his promises. He points out that the technology is still far from mature and will have to develop for several years to come to offer such possibilities…
For its part, Xiaomi prefers to present its robot CyberOne as a simple research project. We can deduce from this that the Asian giant prefers to remain focused on the present and not project too far into the future, perhaps to avoid disappointment if promises are not kept…
Even so, Lei Jun agrees with Elon Musk on one point. He is convinced that ” intelligent robots will definitely part of people’s lives in the future “…
Xiaomi CyberOne price and release date
For the time being, the exact price of the Xiaomi CyberOne remains ambiguous. According to Lei Jun, it will be between 600,000 and 700,000 yuan, i.e. between €87,000 and €102,000.
The CyberOne prototype was unveiled in Beijing on August 11, 2022 at an event organized by Xiaomi. However, it is not known when the it will be marketed.