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Robotics Hardware

Agile Quadruped Robot Unveiled By Italian Roboticists 45

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-i-borrow-it-for-halloween dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Italian roboticists have built a quadruped robot called HyQ that can walk, trot, jump, and rear. Unlike with another quadruped project, the famous BigDog from Boston Dynamics, the Italian team wants to make their design 'as open as possible,' so other research groups can use it to collaborate. HyQ is a hydraulic system with torque-controlled, compliant legs. It's currently tethered, but the researchers plan to make the robot self-contained with an on-board pump, add a head with cameras and laser-range finder, and take it for tests outdoors."

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Agile Quadruped Robot Unveiled By Italian Roboticists

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  • Kudos to them! Will it be powered by the new italian "cold fusion" device also seen on Slashdot today ? :)

  • I know its semantics but its nice to see an industry specific title with the word "roboticists" Instead of the generic "scientists" or "researchers" do XYZ.

  • At the very end of the clip, you can see another trick: The robot can kick!

    There is now officially a robot that can kick you in the balls. Thanks, science! Exactly what we needed! Now Skynet will not only be able to nuke and shoot us, but will be able to kick us.

    • No, no, they have to demonstrate that they're making progress towards a robot that can play football.

      • by kcitren (72383)
        Fuck, I've always said "a computer can beat me in chess, but it can't take me in kick-boxing". :(
  • How do you kill it?
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Nuke it from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

    • by Gordonjcp (186804)

      You don't need to. It's Italian, just wait for its own electrical system to do the job.

  • So how long do we have to wait before we get to see a battle between HyQ and Big Dog?
    • Well BigDog now has AlphaDog which is even bigger, but Hy-q swhich is meant for search and rescue not as a beast of burden isn't even as big as BigDog.

      Hy-q only weighs 70 kilos and is made out of stainless steel and high grade aluminum. Also they should bother be untethered and under their own power if there is to be a fight.

      Hy-q can kick, but we've seen BigDog can take a kicking. So who would win?

  • ...that they've got the "navigation/military" switch locked down this time...

  • Yes but if you push it down hill does it magically have a built in "perpetual motion" machine like the "robot" from yesterday that uses "no energy source"?

    No?

    What if you drop it off a tall cliff? Can it magically go downwards then without giving it an external energy source?

    • by blair1q (305137)

      >Yes but if you push it down hill does it magically have a built in "perpetual motion" machine

      I have one of those.

      It's called a "basketball".

      I may patent it.

  • Nice mechanics (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats (122034) on Friday October 28, 2011 @02:24PM (#37872484) Homepage

    The mechanics of the thing are nice. They have variable compliance in the legs, like real muscles. A muscle can be thought of as a spring/damper system where the spring constant and zero point of the spring are adjustable. This provides energy recovery from stride to stride. Humans get about 70% of the energy back from stride to stride when running efficiently. Cheetahs, 90%. This is a nice model for force control, but hard to realize with real machinery.

    I've seen this done mechanically (the design was bulky, complex, and had way too many cables and pulleys) and pneumatically (at CWRU, a nice design, but needs external air power). Pneumatics are nice for this; with a cylinder you can pressurize from both ends, you really can create a spring with a settable spring constant and zero point.

    There's a way to fake it with electric motors called "series elastic actuators", with a stiff spring in series with a fast electric-powered leadscrew, but there's no energy recovery. Hydraulic systems tend not to have energy recovery, although there are things you can do with hydraulic accumulators. The original BIgDog has almost no elastic energy recovery; there is a hydraulic accumulator in the system, but it's just to smooth out noise from the pump lobes.

    I look forward to seeing more detail on this.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      take out the screw drive and use direct or geared drive, and throw a fat capacitor in the system to soak up the back-emf current and supply it back to the motor, and voila, electro-spring. or just fake it with extra power from the power supply and some motion-control software.

      i suspect that as time goes on, the whole idea of one big motor will go away, and we'll get something more like a muscle, which is a mass of tiny electrochemical motors. that gives you redundancy, fine tuning, and the ability to size

      • by Animats (122034)

        take out the screw drive and use direct or geared drive, and throw a fat capacitor in the system to soak up the back-emf current and supply it back to the motor, and voila, electro-spring. or just fake it with extra power from the power supply and some motion-control software.

        It's hard to build a back-driveable linear actuator that can handle a shock load. Gear trains break teeth on shock loads unless built oversized, which gets bulky for legged robots. Harmonic drive, forget it. I looked into an approach involving opposed spiral springs, which resulted in a more compact design than one I'd seen with linear springs, cables, and pulleys.

        Years ago I had hopes for Aura linear motors. They had a nice technology which was approaching the power ranges of hydraulics. But they gave

        • by blair1q (305137)

          >It's hard to build a back-driveable linear actuator that can handle a shock load.

          I think that's another point for moving to an arrayed solution. Connect lots of micromotors in a series-parallel grid, and a shock gets divided serially and spread out in parallel. Muscles really solved that problem like a champ.

  • I'm sure they could have done just as well with a traditional Waterfall Quadruped Robot.
    They should have at least looked into Software Factory Quadruped Robots , or Rational Unified Process Quadruped Robots.
    This was all just another attempt by Agile consultants to get into the robotics filed!

    P.S. Slashdot - Yes. This is a sarcastic joke mocking Agile software detractors:)

    • I saw no need in your statement to explain it. When you have to explain sarcasm, it fails. Plus, explaining it makes it difficult to carry the humor on to replies.

      But the waterfall quadruped robot is not able to sprint.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      We'll all end up being replaced by Shut Up And Ship It Robots.

  • . . . the Italian Robo-Doggie will be powered by cold fusion, and will quick enough to chase faster-than-light neutrinos . . .

  • by Cyko_01 (1092499) on Friday October 28, 2011 @03:02PM (#37873046) Homepage
    YES! it does run linux.
  • But can it hump? [adultswim.com]
  • Does anyone else think that it looks and moves exactly like a headcrab?
  • Actual quote the article: "You could send the robot to navigate autonomously looking for victims".

    Gah! It's coming to kill us all! ;)

    * Okay, I quote-mined it.

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