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Agile Quadruped Robot Unveiled By Italian Roboticists

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the can-i-borrow-it-for-halloween dept.

Robotics 45

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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It can walk, trot, jump, and rear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37872028)

It can rear? I'm not turning my back on it, that's for sure.

Re:It can walk, trot, jump, and rear. (1)

squidflakes (905524) | about 2 years ago | (#37872200)

What they said was "rear" but what they meant was "rise up and enslave humanity." So, you're right to never turn your back on it.

Re:It can walk, trot, jump, and rear. (3, Interesting)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#37872934)

The interesting thing here is that rearing is a first step to biped movement. A machine that has quadruped stability and load carrying ability, but is able to switch to biped locomotion for a smaller footprint, a better view, or even use the front limbs for something else might be very handy.

Re:It can walk, trot, jump, and rear. (2)

killmenow (184444) | about 2 years ago | (#37872972)

I'm glad it can rear. I've been looking for someone to take care of my kids for me.

Forza Italia! (2)

Reez (65123) | about 2 years ago | (#37872084)

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

the title is refreshing (0)

Nyall (646782) | about 2 years ago | (#37872116)

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.

Re:the title is refreshing (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | about 2 years ago | (#37872470)

I thought you were referring to the fact that they didn't try to simplify "quadruped", which I found to be a refreshing change. I like it far more than "Moving dog-like robot unveiled by Italian scientists."

Re:the title is refreshing (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#37872586)

OTOH, this would have been interesting:
"Moving dog-like robot unveiled by Italian scientists, kills 7."

Re:the title is refreshing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37873214)

I, for one, welcome our dog-like moving overlords. (Had to be said.)

Guess in the future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37872164)

Researchers will be taking the Big Dog out for a HyQ.

Congratulations, science (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#37872220)

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.

Re:Congratulations, science (1)

RollingThunder (88952) | about 2 years ago | (#37873338)

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

Re:Congratulations, science (1)

kcitren (72383) | more than 2 years ago | (#37876358)

Fuck, I've always said "a computer can beat me in chess, but it can't take me in kick-boxing". :(

Re:Congratulations, science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37873556)

There is now officially a robot that can kick you in the balls. Thanks, science!

Skynet needs the ability to add insult to injury. Now, Skynet can humiliate humanity while it wipes us out.

Creepy (1)

Shompol (1690084) | about 2 years ago | (#37872260)

How do you kill it?

Re:Creepy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37872282)

Knock it on it's side

Re:Creepy (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | about 2 years ago | (#37872684)

It's the only way to be sure.

Re:Creepy (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 2 years ago | (#37872790)

True dat.

Pretty silly that they have a "robust" and "quick" robot made from "aerospace-grade aluminum alloy and stainless steel" that they have to keep tethered to the ceiling with a nylon rope to keep it from falling over and breaking itself.

Re:Creepy (0)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 2 years ago | (#37872350)

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

Re:Creepy (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37872354)

The same way that you kill the Wicked Witch of the West.

Re:Creepy (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#37873978)

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

Survivor (1)

carrier lost (222597) | about 2 years ago | (#37872306)

So how long do we have to wait before we get to see a battle between HyQ and Big Dog?

Re:Survivor (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | about 2 years ago | (#37872438)

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?

Please tell me... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#37872420)

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

Yes... (0)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | about 2 years ago | (#37872442)

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?

Re:Yes... (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 2 years ago | (#37872810)

>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 (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#37872484)

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.

Re:Nice mechanics (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 2 years ago | (#37872940)

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 and locate it better. it takes about a dozen attachments to make a thigh work, and doing it with a couple of motors and a gimballed joint isn't the same thing.

Re:Nice mechanics (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#37873508)

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 up on industrial applications and ended up in the subwoofer business.

The "series elastic actuator" guys do in fact fake it. The initial shock load is taken up by the short stiff spring, giving the drive motor time to accelerate before the spring travel runs out. Some MIT research robots use that technology.

Pneumatics do this very well. If the valves are close to the cylinder, precise position control with pneumatics is possible. But you need an air compressor, and bigger lines and valves than with hydraulics.

Re:Nice mechanics (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 2 years ago | (#37874384)

>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.

What? More of this Agile hype?!? (1)

bADlOGIN (133391) | about 2 years ago | (#37872490)

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:)

Re:What? More of this Agile hype?!? (1)

purplebear (229854) | about 2 years ago | (#37872854)

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.

Re:What? More of this Agile hype?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37880566)

But the waterfall quadruped robot is not able to sprint.

No, it needs a RoboMaster for that.

Re:What? More of this Agile hype?!? (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 2 years ago | (#37872956)

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

Combined with other Italian Slashdot threads . . . (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#37872776)

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

Great Anti-TSA Potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37872970)

Quadripeds that can run, jump, and propel mass into targets sound like a possible solution to the growing problem of the TSA.

before anyone asks (2)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | about 2 years ago | (#37873046)

YES! it does run linux.

Re:before anyone asks (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 2 years ago | (#37876820)

YES! it does run linux.

Buddy, it runs on a treadmill.

Why hydraulic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37873152)

Servos are alot more responsive and accurate.

I used to work for an injection molding machine OEM that built all electric machines.. These things were awesome, they could stop a 5,000lb moving platen within a few millimeters of its desired stopping point, every time.. Not possible with hydraulics.

Walk, trot, jump, and rear (1)

Megahard (1053072) | about 2 years ago | (#37874170)

But can it hump? [adultswim.com]

Xen invasion (1)

naff89 (716141) | about 2 years ago | (#37874206)

Does anyone else think that it looks and moves exactly like a headcrab?

Re:Xen invasion (1)

EdZ (755139) | about 2 years ago | (#37874692)

The ZMP gait looks just like the Sidewinder [youtube.com] .

Another more commonly known word for "roboticist" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37874590)

"Faggot".

Victims? (1)

brit74 (831798) | about 2 years ago | (#37874990)

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.

Agile is Amee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37875658)

RED PLANET - Amee is an agile quadruped http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZKITq_2ORw

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