HyQ Steps Across Gaps Despite Getting Yanked Around

IIT’s quadruped has a new footstep planner that is robust against shoves and gaps If your robotics lab has a quadruped, it’s become almost a requirement that you post a video of the robot not falling over when walking across some kind of particularly challenging surface. And quadrupeds are getting quite good at keeping their feet, even while negotiating uneven terrain like steps or rubble. One way to do this is without any visual perception at all, simply reacting to obstacles “blindly” by positioning legs and feet to keep the body of the robot upright and moving in the right direction. This can work for terrain that’s continuous, but when you start looking at more dangerous situations like gaps that a robot’s leg could get stuck in, being able to use vision to plan a safe path becomes necessary. Vision, though, is a real bag of worms, kettle of fish, Continue reading HyQ Steps Across Gaps Despite Getting Yanked Around

Rethink Robotics, Pioneer of Collaborative Robots, Shuts Down

Rodney Brooks’ startup developed a new class of factory robots that could safely work alongside people. Then came the hardest part: selling them The Bad Boy of Robotics was in high spirits. Rodney Brooks had a lot to show us as we zigzagged through Rethink Robotics’ office in Boston on a June morning in 2012. That was the day Brooks introduced us to Baxter, a robot he said would transform manufacturing and “sell like hotcakes.” So it was with a bit of sadness that we found out last night that Rethink is shutting down. After a long 10-year run (the company was founded as Heartland Robotics, remember?) and US $150 million raised from investors, Rethink ran out of steam as sales fell short of the company’s goals. The news of the closing was first reported by the Robot Report yesterday.