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Robotics Technology

Chairbot Walks You Around While You Sit 241

Posted by samzenpus
from the stop-using-your-legs-like-a-sucker dept.
Gary writes "What do you get when you combine a robot and a chair? The Hubo FX-1 chairbot, of course. In what is perhaps my favorite robot design yet, this giant chair with legs looks like it came out of some ridiculous 80's sci-fi movie or something, but it's very, very real. HUBO FX-1 is two meters in height, and weighs 150 kg. The person sitting can control the robot easily using the built in joystick. Each ankle has a 3-axis force/torque sensor which measures the normal force and 2 moments. Each foot has an inclination sensor which measures the angle of the slope. Also, the rate gyro and the inclination sensor of the body allow the device to stabilize itself."
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Chairbot Walks You Around While You Sit

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  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:21PM (#19418571) Homepage Journal
    This thing will protect us from the terrible secret of space.

    Pak Chooie Unf!
    • by gbulmash (688770) *
      That thing rocks and clunks like a drunk trying to pass a field sobriety test. I got motion sick just watching the video. Of course, now they need three other pieces that form its head/torso/cockpit assembly, and heavily armed upper appendages.

      - Greg
    • Wait, I thought they were supposed to fall down the stairs, not be trasnported safely to the next floor down. Screw the carrier, where's the pusher robot?
    • by Xyrus (755017)
      So basically, someone replaced the wheels on an electric wheelchair with legs? O_o

      Progress.

      ~X~
  • One thought (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brad1138 (590148) * <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:22PM (#19418579)
    Why?
    • Re:One thought (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ross.w (87751) <rwonderleyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:38PM (#19418729) Journal
      Maybe so that paralegics and quadriplegics can use stairs like everyone else? A lighter and slimmer version would be a superior solution to using an electric wheelchair, provided it can be done sufficiently cheaply.

      Hey, they have to start somewhere!
      • by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:57PM (#19418921)

        Maybe so that paralegics and quadriplegics can use stairs like everyone else?

        This was my first thought. Wheels are no good on rough and uneven terrain.

        I just wonder WTF would buy a 2m tall 2 legged monstrosity, when 6 short legs would be much simpler to control and balance. This thing is rediculously impractical.

        Then I read the end of TFA about soldiers on these things with chain guns and rpgs. My internal school boy nearly wet himself."Sure it may be a huge target on an inherently unstable pedal configuration with an inability to assume a prone position or find effective cover, but hey, it's a bit like a Mech!"

        Wankers.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          ...but hey, it's a bit like a Mech!"

          If enough armor can be packed on it, the "mech" platform might be more effective in urban combat than tanks. At least for patrolling an area, if not the original capture of an urban environment. Of course then we would only be a few years away from police in the US and EU from using "mechs" in riot control, and then we would be screwed. As it is G8 already has 1000 injured protesters. "http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6728303.stm [bbc.co.uk]
          • by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @11:25PM (#19419885)

            If enough armor can be packed on it, the "mech" platform might be more effective in urban combat than tanks.

            With no armour whatsoever, a few million nanobots that eat ammunition would be more effective than tanks, _and_ they'd be completely uneffected by the tripwires that are so easy to set up in urban environments. Not nearly as exciting though.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by RodgerDodger (575834)
            Correction - G8 has some rioters (no numbers given in the linked article) who decided to charge a police line. There's not even the remotest suggestion here that the police suppressed an otherwise peaceful protest. In an article linked from that article, there's a mention of how police used tear gas and batons to break up a group of rioters who "threw bottles, fire crackers, rocks and Molotov cocktails" and "broken up paving stones to use as projectiles and overturned and torched several vehicles". At least
        • Re:One thought (Score:5, Interesting)

          by paleo2002 (1079697) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:12AM (#19420235)

          I just wonder WTF would buy a 2m tall 2 legged monstrosity, when 6 short legs would be much simpler to control and balance. This thing is rediculously impractical.

          Whenever a new design for a 2-legged robot shows up, people immediately complain about how impractical bipedalism is and that the problem can easily be solved with more legs. But if that were the case, if there were no advantage to bipedalism, then bipedal organisms would not have shown up at all, let alone numerous times in separate groups of animals through history.

          Once the balance problem has been solved, bipedal robots will be as fast and agile as bipedal humans, dinosaurs (avian and non-), etc. And then Will Smith will have to save us all from them.

          • by azuretek (708981)
            I don't know of any animals that naturally walk on two legs. Even primates don't normally walk on their legs...

            More common is 4 legs, and even more common than that is 6+ legs. I would think that following the design of insects would be more effective and stable.
            • Re:One thought (Score:4, Insightful)

              by vivian (156520) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @02:03AM (#19420681)
              Obviously you have never been to Australia.
              There's kangaroos who use 2 legs (albeit with a hopping gait and a tail for balance) - but they have no problems clearing 6 ft fences, can cruise at 25 km/h and sprint for up to 2km at 40km/h) , and emus for a start (top speed about 50km/h. Africa has ostriches too of course.

              Not to mention penguins? how could you forget about them, on slashdot!

            • Re:One thought (Score:4, Informative)

              by mpe (36238) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @04:49AM (#19421263)
              I don't know of any animals that naturally walk on two legs. Even primates don't normally walk on their legs...

              Guess you must have missed these animals known as "birds" as well as their extinct ancestors, therapod dinosaurs :)
            • by peragrin (659227)
              really? when was the last time you looked in a mirror you animal?

              I guess i will go back to walking on my hands, and crawling on the ground.
              • Humans didn't evolve bipedal locomotion because it's a good idea. They began with quadrapedal locomotion, and then the ones that could walk and still use tools with their hands began to have an evolutionary advantage. An intelligent designer would have included more legs.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mpe (36238)
            Whenever a new design for a 2-legged robot shows up, people immediately complain about how impractical bipedalism is and that the problem can easily be solved with more legs. But if that were the case, if there were no advantage to bipedalism, then bipedal organisms would not have shown up at all, let alone numerous times in separate groups of animals through history.

            The reason that bipedalism shows up in animals is that the basic bodyplan of all vertebrates has two sets on limbs. It's easier in evolution
          • by asninn (1071320)

            But if that were the case, if there were no advantage to bipedalism, then bipedal organisms would not have shown up at all

            The same thing could be said about organisms with more than one pair of legs. If bipedalism is so great, why are there animals that have more than two legs? The answer, of course, is that the question is inherently meaningless.

            That being said, what you really seem to be missing is that this is not even about what's ultimately more practical - it's about what is more practical *rig

          • by robably (1044462)

            if there were no advantage to bipedalism, then bipedal organisms would not have shown up at all, let alone numerous times in separate groups of animals through history.
            The advantage of bipedalism in animals is that it allows them to use their front legs for manipulation, but at the cost of lower stability. Robots don't have to make that compromise.
      • by BESTouff (531293)
        Nowadays all-terrains wheelchairs can go pretty much anywhere, and seeing how these bipedals walk, I really doubt they could follow. Moreover I don't think they'll have a great battery autonomy.
      • by mpe (36238)
        Maybe so that paralegics and quadriplegics can use stairs like everyone else?

        Given the size of this thing you'd have a tough time getting it up most stairs. Even if it's feet could fit there's still the problem that the operator's head appears to be more than 3 metres above the ground.

        A lighter and slimmer version would be a superior solution to using an electric wheelchair, provided it can be done sufficiently cheaply.

        So long as it is closer to normal human size. Otherwise the operator is likely to b
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)
      There is going to be a forklift version that can be used to fight aliens.
    • Re:One thought (Score:5, Informative)

      by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:47PM (#19418815) Homepage Journal
      I've got a quad friend who'd buy one of these in a shot if they were cheap enough.

      To go hiking in the hills, walking over dunes on the beach, all the things that wheels aren't really suitable for.
    • by Frogbert (589961)
      If you have to ask you don't deserve your geek card. Bow your head in shame.
    • Toyota (Score:4, Informative)

      by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @09:44PM (#19419243) Homepage Journal

      Why?
      Because they saw the one Toyota made years ago [toyota.co.jp] and thought "neat"?
    • Dude, have you even *played* MechWarrior?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by comradeeroid (1048432)
      Why?

      Because I need it to move from my desk to management whenever they have IT-problems so that they understand the particulars of our relationship.

      "Oh no, IT-support is thundering our way. It'd better be a real problem this time and not just someone who forgot to plug in the ethernet cable, or else there will be smiting."
    • by MouseR (3264)
      There is no why.

      This (old!) thing is a research project wich led to the development of the Hubo [google.com] humanoid robot--a Asimo-like competitor from a korean university. The Hubo robot was the predecessor of their newer Albert Hubo [youtube.com] robot.

      The later uses animatronic facial expressions but it's just meant as a research complement to the humanoid robot. It's more like a tongue-in-cheek element of the project, just like the chair was to their first Hubo FX-1 thing. The chair also helped them better understand balance an
    • Spend a day going around town with my brother-in-law who's got muscular dystrophy and can't take care of himself anymore and you'll understand why. The ability to go up stairs like a normal person would be huge.

      I'm still holding out for the mechanized suit we saw a while back.

  • by EvilRyry (1025309) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:23PM (#19418591) Journal
    Chairbot is a great idea and all but its way too high off the ground to be useful in the office. If I built a chairbot, I'd do it right. It would have 8 legs and kinda crawl around like a spider, keeping you low to the ground. It would be so awesome.
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:23PM (#19418595)
    V2.0 will need to handle 2X or 3X the current device's 100kg payload if it is to sell in the U.S. The growing numbers of "enlarged" Americans that I see using those scooters is horrifying.
  • I want one just like Nute Gunray had.
    • Keep in mind, that his mechnochair had a built-in holographic communications link going directly to Darth Sidious. (Just so you know what you're getting!)
  • I just can't wait for the model with integrated gaming computer, toliet and soda dispenser for those long deathmatch games where it can walk you home after you pass out from playing too much.
  • by bughouse26 (975570) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:26PM (#19418619)
    I'll take one with 6 Medium Lasers, an AC/20, a PPC-10, and an LRM-6 please.
  • Payback (Score:5, Funny)

    by SPrintF (95561) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:27PM (#19418623) Homepage
    Payback's comin', Ballmer... walkin' slow.
  • by nbert (785663) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:28PM (#19418637) Homepage Journal
    ...I'd be ordering a couple. Just imagine doing job interviews in/on such a thing :D
  • I thought it said Chairboy [slashdot.org], not Chairbot. :P
  • by aschlemm (17571) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:30PM (#19418655) Homepage
    The Steve Ballmer version of this chair will automatically throw itself across the room. :)
  • ... if thats the code it runs, I want nothing to do with it...
  • I have a little proposition to make. The unconditional and immediate surrender of the United States of America to the Loveless Alliance!

  • Why use legs when you can use wheels? No fancy control systems necessary.
    • by ross.w (87751)
      I'll race you up the stairs. You use a wheel chair, I'll use one of these.
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)
      wheels are great on smooth terrain, but legs are the only thing that will alow you to travel through really ruff and rocky areas. Also stairs are a lot easier with legs rather than wheels.

      Also how will we build are mech warriors without this type of tech?
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@PARISlynx.bc.ca minus city> on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:34PM (#19418691) Journal
    But if they can get it down to a more manageable size, chairs with legs will be great for people who are otherwise stuck in a wheelchair... it will make all kinds of places accessible to them that weren't previously.
    • by gr8_phk (621180) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @09:19PM (#19419079)
      The Ibot [ibotnow.com] is already available today. I did some development on it for a while and can tell you it's more comfortable than any powered device you've ever ridden. It can do stairs too.
      • by pimpimpim (811140)
        what a wonderful machine! The same size as current electric wheelchairs, but with the huge social difference that you can lift yourself up to eye level! I can imagine that this humble-looking thing has the power to bring wheelchair users closer to the people around them, make them feel more secure and independent, even make a lot of more jobs accessible as well. As they showed in the movie, this actually lets one speak to people in a bar, stupid as it may sound, this is very important, otherwise you'D be on
  • Congrats! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by reset_button (903303)
    You invented an over-priced, overly complex, huge version of an electric wheelchair!
  • by Xinef Jyinaer (1044268) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:35PM (#19418697)
    May I be the first to say, "Goliath Online". And just in time for SC2
  • Technical Paper (Score:5, Informative)

    by morcheeba (260908) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:37PM (#19418715) Journal
    I found this interesting technical paper on the robot: Experimental Realization of Dynamic Walking for a Human-Riding Biped Robot, HUBO FX-1 [cmu.edu]. It has lots of pretty pictures and graphs and gets in to the control-system problems they had when they developed it. Each step runs through three different balance control strategies, which they outline in detail. It's almost enough information to build your own!

  • Was Robotech. I can't wait. The future is Macross, baby.
    • by Bamafan77 (565893)

      " Was Robotech. I can't wait. The future is Macross, baby."
      heh, the first thing I thought of was Evangelion. I read very carefully for any mention of NERV, Instrumentality, or SEAL. Anyway, the chick in the picture doesn't look like she has a high sync with her Eva. She's screwed once the Angels attack.
  • It looks a bit bare. Now with some extra armor, ER PPC and pulse lasers it would be really neat.

    • by RuBLed (995686)
      Well I believe so, unless you got that Express edition where you are not allowed to even duct tape a flashlight to the seat.
  • Military is also one of its future applications may be in a decade or so it will be running on fuel cells with a soldier mounted on firing rpg's and chain guns.

    Screw the military, this sounds like the perfect chair for my office.
  • good timing (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jeek Elemental (976426) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @08:56PM (#19418911)
    was considering taking up jogging but havent cause of all the running involved, this might be the push needed.
  • Ok, Dude, (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cadallin (863437) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @09:02PM (#19418963)
    Stephan Hawking NEEDS this thing. All it needs is a set of grasping hands on long arms so he can crush his enemies like Robo-Nixon. That would be so awesome. In any case, add some lasers and missiles and you've got a fully functional Gundam!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by PayPaI (733999)
    • by gbobeck (926553)
      Talk about timing...

      From bash.org (#765367)

      (08:57:00 PM) Nick: If I had could anyone as a Street Fighter character, it'd be Stephen Hawking.
      (08:57:31 PM) Nick: You know his special move would be...his wheelchar would fly up in the air and then slam down into the other guy like a meteor or something.
  • While I understand the sheer implications of each successful progression of walking biped robot mobility systems, I have to wonder what sort of use this certain implication could have besides being a prop for Austin Powers and Mini Me in the next sequel.
    h
  • How much for reactive armor? A GAU-19 option, perhaps?

    Man, it's the extras that kill ya.
  • Hint: Ginger.
  • by glwtta (532858)
    Dr. Mung Mung will love this thing!
  • by grimdawg (954902) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @09:55PM (#19419337)
    ....the applications of this and derivatives seem fairly extensive.

    There's an inherent advantage of legs over wheels - that's why we have to go out of our way to make ramps for the wheelchair-bound. This device represents, to me, an important step (HAH!) in design of legged machines. Having a robot which can walk intelligently over unpredictable surfaces would be pretty useful.

    Just off the top of my head, here are some areas this could come in handy:

    Construction/mining/etc. - As it is, everything needs to be carted around by trucks, which aren't maneuverable in the way a set of legs can be;

    The disabled - as mentioned by a few, the wheel in wheelchair makes things very tough for our legless friends. With a legchair, they could maybe climb stairs and go over rougher terrain;

    Military - same deal. It's basically the first step toward a genuine Mech;

    Automated factories - no longer are we limited to wheels/tracks/conveyor belts. There's gotta be some advantage to that.

    Space? - The idea of a droid repairing your spaceship just got a little less out there, maybe?

    There are probably more, too. I think the chair itself is retarded, but the research that's gone into getting a set of functioning, intelligent legs is pretty useful.
  • this giant chair with legs

    A chair with legs! What'll they think of next, a bicycle with wheels?

  • Am I the only one disappointed that it doesn't have four spindly little chair legs? It just looks like some odd monstrosity as it is. Even if it was the same height, it would look cooler to me if it had four smaller 'chair-like' legs.
  • Spider car! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Wednesday June 06, 2007 @11:15PM (#19419837)
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned this thing [youtube.com]. It's kind of scary to see it in motion.
  • At first I thought it was just a research project to show how advanced they are, after all it may not be ASIMO but walking on two legs with something on top of them was one of the hard problems. You could stick the two legs under anything you like. I even read how wheeled robots don't fit into stairs, cars, and other things made for humans but legged ones do.

    But then I realized, ahah! I had an ahah moment. This year is the 30th anniversary of Star Wars and of course that that means this is really [starwars.com] a power
  • http://www.five.tv/paulmerton/ [www.five.tv]

    Click on 'Beijing' then the picture on the right (with the robot in the picture).

    If you mistakenly click on the one on the left, then you get something, er, *completely* different! Worth a watch too (if the stupid flash works for you - often cuts off short for me).
  • Cute.

    The interesting research results have to do with control strategies for providing good ride quality. Biped walking machines have been around for some years now, but usually jounce around too much. They've addressed that problem. One more step towards robust biped machines.

    Now the question is whether they can get the stride length up. That's when it starts to get hard. The linear approximations they're using start to diverge from reality too much.

    The latest generation of hobbyist robots from [robots-dreams.com]

  • Put Nixon's head in a jar on that thing and storm the White House...
  • 1/2 chevaline (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zobier (585066) <zobier.zobier@net> on Thursday June 07, 2007 @01:50AM (#19420633)
    I want a chevaline. It looks like we're half way there (and about 6 times too heavy -- but I wouldn't mind not being able to carry it around).
  • [outoftopic]

    I for one welcome our new sexy female robot overlords: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKHtEt_x6FI [youtube.com]. (Safe for work, cousin video of topic)

  • Isn't this just a watered-down version of Toyota's iFoot from 2 years ago?

    I mean I hate to be the one who comes out and says it, but... :/
  • Ridiculous? It looks pretty practical to me. Mount a few rocket launchers on it, some kevlar, bullet-proof glass, and maybe one of those zippy little machine guns off an A-10, and things take on a different perspective.
  • Reminds me of Ray Bradbury's short story from the fifties, "The Pedestrian", about the last pedestrian.... (For an essay on it).

    Seriously, who *needs* it, or wants it? And if you do, then you need to be in an assisted living facility.

                      mark "get up and get your own bheer, ya lazy bum!"
  • Too bad this got eclipsed by his Segway. The IBOT was a much better idea IMHO.

    http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9911/26/ibot.idg / [cnn.com]

    "Imagine the IBOT, looking like a sleek wheelchair, not with two big and two small wheels, but two pair of midsize wheels on a swivel. Imagine joysticking an IBOT as it carries you quickly along a beach.

    Imagine approaching a curb or, worse, stairs. The IBOT's wheels automatically swivel up the curb or swivel repeatedly up the stairs.

    Imagine sitting in a supermarket, hitting the I

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