This week I began working at Anybots, a start-up company in Silicon Valley working on humanoid robots. We presently have two robots, Dexter, a bi-pedal robot which is the world's first human sized, fully dynamically balancing bi-pedal robot, and Montey, a two wheeled balancing robot with two dexterous arms. See the official website for more details. I will be working here at least through the end of August.
Anybots being such a small company I was expecting to wind up doing a little bit of everything; my first day typified this idea. In the first 10 hours I: worked on repairing the robot's hand, designed a new circuit board for the next generation hand, started writing firmware for that board and translated research material from Japanese into English. It is hard but exciting work and I have to say it's nice to be in a group where everyone is as passionate about robotics as I am.
The hand I'm working on is Montey's right hand which is operated via a waldo glove and replicates a human hand as closely as possible. It's an impressive piece of complex engineering with 18 degrees of freedom in the fingers alone. The only anthropomorphic hand I am aware of which is more advanced than ours is that of Shadow Robotics in the UK but they lack even a wrist, let alone the rest of the arm. Montey's left hand has a classic robotic claw and just like in the movies, it's grip is far stronger than human hands.