IHMC Developing New Gymnast-Inspired Humanoid Robot

Hydraulic actuators will give Nadia a unique combination of flexibility and power The robotics group at the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Pensacola, Fla., has an enormous amount of experience with walking robots. They came in second at the DARPA Robotics Challenge with their Running Man Atlas, one of just three teams to score a perfect 8 out of 8, and they’ve continued to advance bipedal locomotion using both Atlas and NASA’s Valkyrie. We write about their research all the time—just a few months ago, they taught Atlas to walk with straight legs, much like a human does. Humans set a very high standard for bipedal mobility. We’re well designed for it in both hardware and software, and we can do some absolutely amazing things.  Getting robots to do the same kinds of things that humans can is an intimidating challenge, requiring both complex hardware and innovative Continue reading IHMC Developing New Gymnast-Inspired Humanoid Robot

Building Robots That Can Go Where We Go

To be useful around people, robots need to learn how to walk like we do Gif: Dan Saelinger Robots have walked on legs for decades. Today’s most advanced humanoid robots can tramp along flat and inclined surfaces, climb up and down stairs, and slog through rough terrain. Some can even jump. But despite the progress, legged robots still can’t begin to match the agility, efficiency, and robustness of humans and animals. Existing walking robots hog power and spend too much time in the shop. All too often, they fail, they fall, and they break. For the robotic helpers we’ve long dreamed of to become a reality, these machines will have to learn to walk as we do. We must build robots with legs because our world is designed for legs. We step through narrow spaces, we navigate around obstacles, we go up and down steps. Robots on wheels or tracks Continue reading Building Robots That Can Go Where We Go

Video Friday: Innfos Humanoid Robot, and More

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!): HRI 2019 – March 11-14, 2019 – Daegu, Korea RoboSoft 2019 – April 14-18, 2019 – Daegu, Korea Nîmes Robotics Festival – May 17-19, 2019 – Nîmes, France ICRA 2019 – May 20-24, 2019 – Montreal, Canada 2nd Annual Robotics Summit & Expo – June 4-6, 2019 – Boston, Mass., USA Energy Drone Coalition Summit – June 12-13, 2019 – Woodlands, Texas, USA Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.

Caltech Building Agile Humanoid Robot by Combining Legs With Thrusters

Leonardo augments humanoid legs with thrusters to help it run and jump For better or worse, robots with humanoid features are often compared to humans—we want to know if they’re anywhere close to doing the same kinds of things that we do, and with a few exceptions, the answer is “probably not.” Humanoid robots are difficult to build and program, but we keep doing it because it makes some amount of sense to have robots that look and function like we do operating in the same environments that we operate in. However, one of the great things about robots is that they don’t have to be constrained by the same boring humanoid-ness that we are, and we can do all kinds of things to them to make them more capable than we’ll ever be. Over the past year, we’ve seen several different project that are enhancing the capabilities of humanoid Continue reading Caltech Building Agile Humanoid Robot by Combining Legs With Thrusters

Airbags Could Protect Humanoid Robots From Catastrophic Falls

Walking robots will always turn into falling robots, and wearable airbags could help keep them safe Humanoid robots are generally designed with the expectation that they won’t fall over. And most humanoid robots do, in fact, spend most of their time not falling over, although this is frequently because their creators don’t trust them enough to let them do anything fancy without being tethered to some sort of safety system. You can build your robot to be extra-durable and consequently make falling over less destructive than it would be otherwise, but then you end up over-engineering your hardware by designing it to be able to handle something that (ideally) won’t happen often, if ever. The ideal emergency safety system for humanoid robots would be cheap, reliable, lightweight, easy to integrate, and able to deploy at very short notice during the small window of time between when a robot detects that it’s Continue reading Airbags Could Protect Humanoid Robots From Catastrophic Falls

UBTECH Shows Off Massive Upgrades to Walker Humanoid Robot

The Chinese company demonstrates its consumer bipedal humanoid at CES This week at CES 2019, UBTECH Robotics (which was valued at $5 billion as of mid-2018) is announcing a major update to a walking robot first demonstrated at CES 2018. UBTECH’s Walker has gained a torso, arms, hands, and a head, and is now as humanoid as bipedal robots get. UBTECH has posted a couple of new videos, and answered some questions about Walker’s capabilities and where our expectations should be.

IHMC Teaches Atlas to Walk Like a Human

Humans walk with straight legs and most robots don’t, but IHMC is teaching Atlas to do better Humanoid robots have a very distinctive walk. Knees bent, torso as stationary as possible. Even Boston Dynamics’ own Atlas uses this crouching sort of squat-walk to get around, because those perpetually bent legs are how it keeps from falling over. This sort of gait is so common with humanoid robots that it’s become the “normal” robot gait, but it’s also not at all the way that humans walk. We walk with straight legs, locking our knees with each stride, because it’s much easier to support our weight that way. You can try it for yourself: that bent knee “bipedal robot” walk gets tiring to keep up, because your leg muscles always have to be engaged.  At IHMC, roboticists are busy solving this problem by teaching Atlas to walk more like we do. In addition Continue reading IHMC Teaches Atlas to Walk Like a Human

Video Friday: Cassie’s Star Wars AT-ST Costume, and More

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!): ICSR 2018 – November 28-30, 2018 – Qingdao, China RoboDEX – January 16-18, 2019 – Tokyo, Japan Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today’s videos.

Video Friday: Ladder-Climbing Snake Robot, and More

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos IROS has just ended in Spain but our coverage continues and we’ll be bringing you more stories over the next week or two. Today we have a special edition of Video Friday, featuring some of the best videos from the conference. Next week, Video Friday returns to its normal format, so if you have video suggestions, keep them coming as usual. Enjoy today’s videos! International Robot Safety Conference – October 9-11, 2018 – Detroit, Mich., USA Japan Robot Week – October 17-19, 2018 – Tokyo, Japan Collaborative Robots, Advanced Vision & AI Conference – October 24-25, 2018 – Santa Clara, Calif., USA ICSR 2018 – November 28-30, 2018 – Qingdao, China