8.23.2005

 

Robot gets on its feet

Rock 'n' roll robot regains its feet: "A humanoid robot with an exceptionally nimble knack for getting back on its feet after a fall has been developed by researchers in Japan.

Named R Daneel, the robot kicks up its legs and rolls back onto its shoulders to gain the momentum it needs to rock up onto its feet and into a crouching position. This might be fairly easy for a human to do, but for the 60-kilogram bot, it requires a relaxed attitude to body control."

Here is an amazing video of the robot in action: R Daneel in action.

The obvious question after watching the video is, "How long will it be before humanoid robots are performing gymnastics at an olympic level?"

Comments:
Okay, those movements were so fluid that it crosses the line into "so-human-like-that-it's-scary."
 
kat: engineers wont be constrained by human or even animal body designs when creating robots. 360 degree vision etc. will make robots better than humans when it comes to mobility and sensing the environment.
 
In that vein, I've often wondered: "Jumping robots? Maybe jumping would be a cheaper way to move around- like on a pogo stick." This is just a wild guess, I have no idea really. Might only be suitable for some cargo...
 
Jumping on a pogo stick has been done. Look up the MIT leg lab. Surprisingly, jumping is actually easier than walking. The simpler control routines used for jumping are a precursor to those used for walking. It's all based on balancing pendulums. Even this demo, with the robot getting on its feet has its roots in pumping a hanging pendulum from a rest state into a balanced state.
 
Very cool video. However, the combined skills learned from decades of robot development remains elusive. Perhaps Lucasfilm will license the behavior set of R2-D2 or C-3PO to Toyota or Honda for a real consumer level 'bot that would be a real blockbuster.
 
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