×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Robots Take To the Stairs

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the terrible-secret-of-space dept.

Robotics 85

Singularity Hub writes "Robots can climb stairs, and they are doing it everywhere you look. 'No big deal' you say, but it really is a big deal. Five to ten years ago, almost nobody was doing it. Now grad students are doing it all by themselves for thesis projects. Check out our review of robots navigating stairs, which includes some awesome videos."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

85 comments

Robots are protected. (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#27850721)

Robots have gone down the stairs.

Re:Robots are protected. (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#27850739)

Robots have gone down the stairs

Only when as drunk as their makers.

Re:Robots are protected. (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851121)

But if robots can climb stairs, are those of us with stairs in our house still protected?

Re:Robots are protected. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27854471)

Please go stand by the stairs, and we'll have an answer for your next of kin soon.

Re:Robots are protected. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27851825)

Robots have gone down the stairs.

Do not trust the Duradin robot. He is malfunctioning.

Shoving is the answer.

Re:Robots are protected. (1)

dudpixel (1429789) | more than 4 years ago | (#27855279)

According to the summary, grad students are climbing stairs all by themselves for thesis projects.

Apparently almost no one was climbing stairs 5-10 years ago...

Or if you read it another way, maybe grad students ARE robots...

go on - back to the top and read the summary again - you know you want to. >:D

Dahleks.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27850727)

everywhere rejoice!

Daleks (3, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#27850755)

What about Daleks?

Re:Daleks (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#27850911)

What about Daleks?

As seen on some slashdotter's sig:

Real Daleks don't climb stairs. They level the building.

Re:Daleks (2, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851231)

Not sure why you got modded off-topic. The subject of Daleks being unable to climb stairs was the source of many a heated argument amongst Dr. Who fans. It's a classic argument

Likely today's moderators are a little young to understand the significance among us older slashdotters.

Here we have a perfect article that makes the Dr. Who reference perfectly on-topic -- hopefully another moderator will have the good sense to undo the damage.

Or maybe I just need to admit I'm old and out-of-touch with today's nerd culture. But really, it's quite unseemly that in the new series, the Daleks *fly*. It's like not having Han shoot first, it's just plain wrong.

Re:Daleks (0, Offtopic)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851649)

I never really watched the older Dr Who series, only the newer ones (except when I've gone back for noteworthy episodes and such). But still...Daleks have a flat bottom, and they're clearly meant to slide along the ground. Seeing them levitate (and worse, fly through the air like awkward jet planes) is just plain ridiculous. They've got their death rays and nigh upon indestructible bodies....what the heck do they need to be able to go up stairs for?

Re:Daleks (1, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#27852397)

They've got their death rays and nigh upon indestructible bodies....what the heck do they need to be able to go up stairs for?

To get to the top?

Re:Daleks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27857791)

Stairs are no match for the Dalek...

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2b/Remembranceofthedaleks.jpg

I must have misread this (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#27850771)

Wouldn't "Robots take to the stars!" make a lot more sense? I don't need a robot to run upstairs and fetch my slippers for me -- I need a robot to explore Venus, Mars, and Europa for me!

This confused me, as well . . . (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#27850953)

. . . I thought that we were going to build an *elevator* to the moon, and would need robot elevator riders to make the trip.

I guess the NASA pundits for the *stairway* to the moon won out, and so we will need robot stair climbers . . . real soon.

Re:I must have misread this (4, Insightful)

pluther (647209) | more than 4 years ago | (#27850967)

I dunno. I'd rather have the robot go get my slippers and I go Venus, Mars, and Europa myself.

Re:I must have misread this (1)

Razalhague (1497249) | more than 4 years ago | (#27857455)

I hear the weather's rather dreadful on Venus this time of the year. Or any other time of the year.

Re:I must have misread this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27851285)

That's great, Dave, and maybe one day children will learn to drive rocket cars before they can walk, but let's focus on the fundamentals.

Re:I must have misread this (1)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#27854497)

Wouldn't "Robots take to the stars!" make a lot more sense? I don't need a robot to run upstairs and fetch my slippers for me -- I need a robot to explore Venus, Mars, and Europa for me!

"All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landings there."

Just watch out for the ones at the top. (1)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 4 years ago | (#27850783)

I don't trust these stair-climbing robots. Sure, they'll claim to protect you from some terrible secret of space, but there's something in those shifty glowing eyes that makes me think that they're up to no good.

Re:Just watch out for the ones at the top. (4, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#27850823)

That would be the pusher robot. He is malfunctioning. Trust the shover robot; he will protect you from the terrible secret of space. Do you have stairs in your house?

Re:Just watch out for the ones at the top. (0, Redundant)

Vendetta (85883) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851023)

I am protected. God I feel dirty for having said that.

Re:Just watch out for the ones at the top. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27851375)

V.

It's for you.

Re:Just watch out for the ones at the top. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27856127)

I c wot u did thar.

One smal step .. (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#27850839)

That's one small step for a robot, a giant leap for mankind.

On serious side, I don't see this big deal. There are robots out there who impress me much more. Still it's nice to see stuff like that.

ELEVATE!!!! (1)

Faizdog (243703) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851045)

That's because 5-10 years ago, there wasn't a contemporary Dr. Who on TV. Robot designers had no clue with our limited human intelligence on how to get robots up the stairs. Upon the reemergence of the new Dr. Who, that one command "ELEVATE" and the new race of Daleks taught us humans to imagine robots going up stairs.

Well.... Probably it just refocused us.

Well... It just triggered something in our imagination.

Sonic Screwdriver technology? What?! What?! What?! That's still waiting, especially for the dampners and the red setting.

Pre-ELEVATE!!!! (1)

DarthStrydre (685032) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851245)

Daleks had no issue with self-levetation in Who lore. The earliest mention of it is in 1965 with "The Chase", though it was first witnessed in 1988 with the seventh Doctor in "Rememberance of the Daleks". The "ELEVATE!" scene in the new series was mostly just fan service.

Re:ELEVATE!!!! (4, Informative)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851281)

That's because 5-10 years ago, there wasn't a contemporary Dr. Who on TV. Robot designers had no clue with our limited human intelligence on how to get robots up the stairs. Upon the reemergence of the new Dr. Who, that one command "ELEVATE" and the new race of Daleks taught us humans to imagine robots going up stairs.

"Remembrance of the Daleks" first depicted a Dalek going up stairs, and without a verbal command to do so. October 1988.

Re:ELEVATE!!!! (1)

RyatNrrd (662756) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851427)

Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chase_(Doctor_Who)#Daleks [wikipedia.org]

It is strongly implied in this story that the Daleks have the power of flight; they are seen moving on two levels of the Mary Celeste, and the cliffhanger to the first episode shows a Dalek that has been buried in sand free itself by rising vertically. It would not be until Revelation of the Daleks in 1985 that a Dalek would actually be shown airborne.

Re:ELEVATE!!!! (1)

RyatNrrd (662756) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851461)

..and that was June 1965.

Re:ELEVATE!!!! (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851909)

That could be an implication, but then one could also come up with other ways to navigate the ship, such as teleportation. Daleks have used transmat beams, though I'm uncertain whether they've been shown to use them to transport themselves.

Re:ELEVATE!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27857985)

you do know it isn't real, right?

Re:ELEVATE!!!! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851603)

Nonsense. As someone mentioned in a comment, wheelchairs that could climb stairs very well were already being sold in the United States over 6 years ago.

The British just used old, cheap props in their show. It isn't any more complicated than that.

Re:ELEVATE!!!! (1)

tjscott (1122845) | more than 4 years ago | (#27853369)

Nonsense. As someone mentioned in a comment, wheelchairs that could climb stairs very well were already being sold in the United States over 6 years ago.

Obviously no-one told Charles Xavier. He still has one weakness.

ED-209 is not impressed (4, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851059)

You have 30 seconds to comply.

Re:ED-209 is not impressed (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851871)

You have 30 seconds to comply.

Plenty of time to reach the stairwell!

Re:ED-209 is not impressed (4, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851889)

> You have 30 seconds to comply.

Plenty of time to reach the stairwell!

It's not ED-209 you have to outrun - it's the bullets.

Re:ED-209 is not impressed (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#27852065)

I thought I had 30 seconds until it started shooting! Damned lying ED.

Re:ED-209 is not impressed (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#27852949)

I thought I had 30 seconds until it started shooting! Damned lying ED.

Geez, it's just a beta - don't be so picky! That's why we loaded it with phosphorous rounds instead of exploding rounds. For safety.

Re:ED-209 is not impressed (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#27853551)

Geez, it's just a beta - don't be so picky! That's why we loaded it with phosphorous rounds instead of exploding rounds. For safety.

I hope you meant for awesome, in which case I fully approve. :)

Re:ED-209 is not impressed (1)

smclean (521851) | more than 4 years ago | (#27852201)

Is it wrong that I clicked "Read More" for the sole purpose of hitting ctrl-f ED-209? Thanks for justifying my search, BTW.

Summary wording (5, Funny)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851061)

"Now grad students are doing it all by themselves for thesis projects."

As a grad student, I found the wording of the summary amusing. I can confirm that yes, we can climb stairs if need be. The elevators in my CS building go out about once every two weeks for instance. (Wasn't that long ago that the motor in one of the shafts caught fire and shut down that shaft for over a week. During which the other shaft broke down too for a short time.)

Of course, the real advance will be when robots follow in our paths and learn to take the elevator when one is available.

Re:Summary wording (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27853115)

I wonder how many blacks are producing robots like this.

I think I can guess: NONE.

Does that bother you? Do you care about your children?
Do you not think the proportion of non-whites living in your country is going to have a profound (and negative) effect on your children's quality of life, or do you actually believe the insane "We're all the same, diversity is our strength" bullshit?

Re:Summary wording (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27858703)

Of course, the real advance will be when robots follow in our paths and learn to take the elevator when one is available.

if ( Available(elevator) )
{
        Take(elevator);
}
else if ( Available(stairs) )
{
        Take(stairs);
}
else
{
        pDalek->LevelTheBuilding();
}

Re:Summary wording (1)

lumiera (1515447) | more than 4 years ago | (#27867821)

"Robots can climb stairs...Now grad students are doing it all by themselves for thesis projects." Finally proof that grad students are, indeed, robots. Maybe next we can teach them to pick up all the empty soda cans and pizza boxes left in the computer lab.

Flash! AAAaaaa! (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851077)

It serves with a mighty stream (It serves with a mighty stream)
It serves with a mighty stream (It serves with a mighty stream)
It serves with a mighty stream (Serve us)
Every song, every movie, every show with the mighty--
Flash!

Missed the Loper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27851119)

Clearly missed the Loper. Video here:

http://distrob.cs.umn.edu/loper.php

This one can even go down stairs in a controlled manner, which certainly puts it a step ahead of the Packbot!

God save us from the Daleks (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851173)

And here I thought living in the basement would keep me safe from our robot overlords. Looks like I'm going to have to reevaluate my strategery here.

Obligatory!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27851243)

I for one welcome our new stair-climbing robot overlords.
~Your Humble Masses

=>All your floors are belong to us!

It is no big deal (1)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851295)

It looks impressive (and, from the programmer's perspective, it is very impressive) but, if it's a big deal for a robot, then it's really no big deal. Unless robots can learn to negotiate stairs (and everything else) as easily as humans, I'm afraid that the robot revolution is still a dream. My point is that we really need general AI so as to free robots to learn to perform all sorts of tasks, not just a few domain-specific ones.

Re:It is no big deal (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 4 years ago | (#27855745)

My point is that we really need general AI so as to free robots to learn to perform all sorts of tasks, not just a few domain-specific ones.

Nah, what we really need is a good open-source programmable molecular assembler, so that anybody who owns one can press a button and have it create either (a) food, or (b) another molecular assembler. Once we have one of those, world hunger will be solved in a matter of months.

(As long as we're dreaming....)

Oh God No... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27851365)

I chose to live on the 2nd floor specifically to avoid the robots... now I am all out of ideas.

Our Last Line of Defense is Gone! (1)

RedShirtsDieFirst (1549159) | more than 4 years ago | (#27851493)

My children slept soundly at night safe in the knowledge given to us by Robocop that the ED-209 and all other robots would never be able to make it past the impassable barrier of the stairwell. We were going to buy a ranch, but rather decided on a two story Tudor only for the anti-robo stairs. Now all hope is lost. I for one welcome our new stair climbing ED-209 overlord.

Sorcy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27851675)

Anyone else think J-Day just moved up it's schedule?

wheeled and stable vs dynamically legged robots (5, Interesting)

soibudca (846319) | more than 4 years ago | (#27852033)

I thought this article was a bit strange. Of the four or five videos posted, only one was a self contained two legged walker (the well known asimo). The others involved various specialized wheel systems. Even asimo relies on static stability. In fact robots (even legged ones) have been climbing stairs for at least 15 years. I remember in the early 90s the society of automobile engineers sponsored a contest for _undergraduate_ engineering students to develop legged robots that could traverse various obstacles -- One of them being a set of stairs. Every year several of the entries were able to pass that test. The more interesting recent developments are with dynamically stable and self contained robots that can climb stairs and traverse other obstacles. This really is a new development in the last 10 years. The most crazy cool example of this I've seen recently is the big dog.

Re:wheeled and stable vs dynamically legged robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27855207)

Asimo does not rely on static stability. It is quite a dynamic robot. Albeit, he is built stiff to accurately track joint trajectories. But he is certainly dynamic.

Big dog is different in that it has springy legs designed to allow some of the joint trajectories to be dominated by dynamics. And it is incredibly impressive. But Raibert had bipeds that could jump up stairs and do flips a long time ago, which are mysteriously absent from this article.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAPjmDiAI5E&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3WhwQ0S-vM&feature=related

Re:wheeled and stable vs dynamically legged robots (1)

j_sp_r (656354) | more than 4 years ago | (#27856503)

Asimo walks with ZMP (zero moment point). That means he is in static balance every moment (AKA he can stop all his joints (dv = 0) and he won't fall).

Robot Stair Climbing Fail (1)

tcsh(1) (683224) | more than 4 years ago | (#27852269)

Here's [youtube.com] my favorite video of a robot climbing stairs. Pay no attention to the robot behind the curtain.

now whats our 1st line of defense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27852825)

Stairs used to be my defense against robots, I guess I'll have to replace the stairs with moats

Still... (1)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 4 years ago | (#27853143)

Couldn't climb stairs 5-10 years ago? What? Everyone's known for several decades now that in order to climb stairs, all you have to do is scream ELEVATE! ELEVATE! over and over until you reach the desired altitude.

Duh.

RHex climbing stairs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27857963)

see RHex climbing stairs:

http://sandboxinnovations.com/index.php?leaf=12

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...