When you hear "robot," you might think of either evil iRobot humanoids, or something lame like the Roomba.
But at the University of Manitoba Autonomous Agents Lab, their robots are hitting the slopes.
Jennifer, a robot created by the lab that used to be known for playing hockey, soccer and wall-climbing, is now a pretty talented alpine and cross-country skier as well.
Dr. John Anderson, the director of the Manitoba Computer Science Laboratory, told Mashable that the open-source ski bunny is more than just a fun winter sports project:
The physical agility required to cross-country ski is indicative of the "kinds of challenges humanoids will face in tasks that are currently challenging to us: e.g. robot firefighters, disaster rescue, and secondarily robots in the home. This involves things like bending, crawling, and the other types of full-body motions that humans use intuitively beyond bipedal walking."
Judging by the progress the lab has made, it seems like a realistic possibility that we'll see these robots working in life and death situations sometime in the near future. For now, though, Jennifer's ski skills are plenty impressive.
Related: Check out a flying, walking robot inspired by a bat!