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Robotics Hardware Technology

Virginia Tech Students Build CHARLI, a Human-Sized Robot 82

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the in-college-i-just-made-crappy-websites dept.
smackay writes "As CHARLI takes his first steps, anxious onlookers stand ready to catch him if he falls. His stride is short, but upright, as one foot is placed in front of the other in the basement of Virginia Tech's Randolph Hall. But CHARLI is no toddler. He is a 5-foot-tall humanoid robot. Video of this ground-breaking robot included."
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Virginia Tech Students Build CHARLI, a Human-Sized Robot

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Army of NONE.

    Yours In Astrakhan,
    Kilgore T.

  • Imagine a robot version of charlie hit me [youtube.com], but with a Microsoft Sam voice.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So, Asimo [honda.com] doesn't exists all of a sudden?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Orga (1720130)
      Groundbreaking in the sense that..... CHARLI is the first untethered, autonomous, full-sized, walking, humanoid robot with four moving limbs and a head, built in the United States.
      • The term "groundbreaking" was added by smackay, the submitter. It was not used in TFA.

      • by techdavis (939834)
        The only part that doesn't describe ASIMO is the "built in the United States", and ASIMO can do stairs, run, walk backwards, etc. Oh, and talk. So no, NOT groundbreaking, but yes, interesting. Just because they aren't breaking new ground does not mean it isn't significant. I am sure Honda is not sharing the technology they developed for ASIMO with the rest of the world. Thought the one they have at Disneyland is still an interesting demo.
    • by RingDev (879105) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @12:17PM (#32000858) Homepage Journal

      Asimo wasn't built on a $20,000 budget.

      -Rick

    • CHARLI is "human size" by that they mean five feet tall, whereas Asimo is only four feet three inches.

    • This is America. American technology always leads the world. Asimo doesn't exist. QED.
    • by Phoghat (1288088)
      No, it exists and does more and does it better, but Hoinda is a Japanese company with a huge R&D budget and these guys did this with the equivalent of a K'NEX kit

      Not to be snarky, but When I went to the VT page,I had to chuckle a bit. II was a photographer for the school paper and yearbook at university and you could tell that these pictures were so staged. "Students prepare CHARLI for walk".

      Etc. Not a bad thing, just ticked my funny bone

  • Not female? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @12:12PM (#32000784)

    Then who cares?

  • Very interesting! I am fascinated by technology. Congratulations to the VT students.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by xerxesVII (707232)

      Congratulations
      Very insightful! I am fascinated by your post. Congratulations to you.

  • historic my ass (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mestar (121800) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @12:28PM (#32001030)

    "CHARLI is historic. CHARLI is the first untethered, autonomous, full-sized, walking, humanoid robot with four moving limbs and a head, built in the United States."

    Come on, this is a ridiculous statement. Given enough qualifications, anything can be said to be historic.

    This is just another Asimo, just more ugly. Also, it is not humanoid at all, his head is a fcking lawn lamp.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by e4g4 (533831)
      For sure; reminds me of those filler baseball stats announcers use: "Wright bats 1.000 against left handed pitchers on the day after a rainstorm when the Mets are on the road and Venus is in retrograde."
    • Humanoid just refers to the body type, it doesn't have to mean it has human facial features. It has a recognizable head, two arms, two legs, etc. Would agree that I don't see how this is some sort of breakthrough though.
  • I actually RTFA and didn't see any video, does anyone else have another link to it? I'm really rather interesting in seeing this.

  • You're not charlie [youtube.com] at all.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @12:33PM (#32001114)

    He is a 5-foot tall humanoid robot. Video of this ground-breaking robot included.

    What is the robot made of, if each step breaks the ground? I can only imagine the seismic effect an army of these ground-breaking robots would have.

    • by NCG_Mike (905098)
      A billion of them jumping and landing at the same time could be a deterrant for the Chinese doing the same. Another arms race?
  • by Orga (1720130) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @12:34PM (#32001148)
    They still manage to stick the video in an area normally reserved for lame advertising that everyone has learned to tune out.
  • I for one welcome our ugly, arthritic, inexpensive-by-asimo-standards overlords.
  • Yay! (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by wcrowe (94389)

    We finally caught up to 1990 Japan.

  • Seems, IMHO, to be retarding progress. If folks would just put the stupid anthropomorphism on the back burner, we could already have a wealth of useful robotics in the home. But, noooooooooo, they all gotta look like C3P0 or we're doomed....
    • by Issarlk (1429361)
      It's a requirement. To be exact it should look like C3PO with boobs. ...and cat ears.
    • by nasch (598556)

      If folks would just put the stupid anthropomorphism on the back burner, we could already have a wealth of useful robotics in the home.

      Do you know this to be true, or are you guessing? Do you know of home robotics projects that were either not started or not successful solely or primarily because of the prohibitive or insurmountable obstacle of making the robot humanoid?

      There are robots in the home; I have one, and it's not humanoid. I'm guessing - I don't know - that home robots have not been more successful because good robots are difficult and often expensive to make, not because customers demand that they look like people.

    • Seems, IMHO, to be retarding progress. If folks would just put the stupid anthropomorphism on the back burner, we could already have a wealth of useful robotics in the home. But, noooooooooo, they all gotta look like C3P0 or we're doomed....

      Except for the fact that our entire infrastructure/civilization has been refined for millenia to efficiently accommodate the movement and activities of 1.5-2.0 meter tall bipeds with four digits and an opposable thumb on two articulating upper appendages. Unless you plan on redesigning 99% of all tools (in the generic sense of the word - i.e. doorknobs, systems of buttons/keypads, steering wheels, stairs, etc) there seems to be a significant advantage in replicating the human physical form.

      • by jp102235 (923963)
        Well, I agree, why not have three legs, or one leg and really good balance, or legs with spheres as the feet, or well - I can think of many many variants, but if I wanted something that could get across almost any terrain, it would have four legs for sure (or the ability to hover) instead of just focusing on making a humanoid. j
  • I don't know much about mechanical engineering, but as cool as this looks I question the value of these kinds of robotic projects. Exactly what value is this to science in the remotely near future? These guys are our best and brightest. I'd like to see this effort redirected into artificial limbs.

    • In the unlikely event that we start sending stuff to Mars, someone could send up a bunch of these robots to build bases to human sized proportions and test out the equipment before humans arrive.

    • Ah, as the guy introducing and narrating the video said, doing this research *is* helping with development of prosthetic limbs, so you should be happy. They are working in that area, if a bit indirectly.

      I think this is cool generally, even if it seems comparable to the already existing ASIMO. Robotics will become more important and I am glad to see more research being done on it outside of Japan.

      Now, if they could only combine the results of this development with the products of the RealDoll company (http:/

  • > "CHARLI H will be a fully functioning robot," said Derek Lahr, a Ph.D. student from Charleston, S.C., who is spearheading the "H" project.

    Mmmm I wonder if they mean this in the same way Data meant it.

    • by danbert8 (1024253)

      Preparations A-G were a complete failure, but now we have a working prototype which we shall call... Preparation H!

      Why don't you just call it "Operation Ass Creme?"

  • Instead of placing the foot near the midline on each step, the body shits laterally to get over the foot. This is good - if the robot decides to chase you, it's likely to fall over sideways. DON'T FIX THAT, or we're screwed.

    • by Gertlex (722812)

      Instead of placing the foot near the midline on each step, the body shits laterally to get over the foot.

      Shitting sideways? That's quite the fetish you have, if you like that sort of thing.

    • by Lally Singh (3427)

      You'd be surprised at how many humans walk like that too.

  • It is very nice to see that American universities are staying on top of technology and making sure their students get some very useful hands-on experience with technology of the future. Sure, this case is an outlier, but at least someone is doing it. I can't wait to see what comes out of some other programs in the coming years.
  • I can say CHARLI has nice looks, compared to other teams I have seen so far. Its walking looks subpar but it will definitely improve until June. So far it is not groundbreaking or anything. For more impressive robots see Nimbro(Germany), Team Osaka(Japan) and Robo Erectus(Singapore). Our robot TUlip(Netherlands) was quiet crappy last year but we heavily modified it and expecting good publicity this year.

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