A Terminator-like Atlas robot broke its ankle on its debut at the University of Hong Kong yesterday during a disastrous demonstration.
The 150kg, 1.9-metre-tall robot, which cost HK$15 million, is the most advanced humanoid robot to date, and HKU is the first institution outside the United States to own one.
But after demonstrating a short tai chi routine, the robot lost its balance and fell, breaking its right ankle.
HKU is competing against institutions including US space agency Nasa and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop software to control the Atlas in a robotics challenge funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
HKU Advanced Robotics Initiative leader Wyatt Newman said the university was the first of the seven competing institutions to get the robot's head, body and hands all working, but it would be six years before humanoid robots could be used in real-life situations.