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Experimenting With Robotic Movement

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the just-avoid-scuttling-and-slithering dept.

Robotics 23

kodiaktau writes "Roboticists with EPFL are playing with new methods of locomotion for robots, modeled after grasshoppers, bats and other non-traditional forms of movement, including leaping and gliding."

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23 comments

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Jumpgliding? (4, Funny)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38509648)

Looks more like jumpcrashing to me.

Re:Jumpgliding? (1, Offtopic)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38509950)

It can't be very efficient at all. You can see the lost energy with the bounceback as it slams in to the ground after moving only a few inches.

Re:Jumpgliding? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512294)

I think the kids working on this project should audit a aviation ground school class; the issues of successfully landing are covered there extensively. Throw in some Piezo Transducers for object feedback, and some redesigning the wings to change "angle of attack" for SLOWING DOWN, and this project could start to show some promise.

To the kids on this project, "don't give up, complete it." You're heading in the right direction.

Re:Jumpgliding? (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510954)

I think somebody wanted to disprove that old saw about frogs not bumping their asses if only they had wings.

Re:Jumpgliding? (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512262)

Looks more like jumpcrashing to me.

It is in the tradition of all experimenting with robotic movement - reminiscent of a slashdot user at a boy-girl dance ;-)

Re:Jumpgliding? (2)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38513792)

An object which with relative ease can go down a slope or staircase, but has no chance in hell to get back upstairs? Mmmm, interesting, but might meet stiff competition from this other wonderful robot called "rubber ball"...

Re:Jumpgliding? (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515384)

Actually, the Slinky is what comes to my mind here. It's really good at going down stairs.

Re:Jumpgliding? (1)

morethanapapercert (749527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38517872)

alone or in pairs....

Traditional for whom ? (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38509670)

"... modeled after grasshoppers, bats and other non-traditional forms of movement, including leaping and gliding."

I suspect that grasshoppers and bats might find these forms of movement to be pretty traditional indeed.

Re:Traditional for whom ? (1)

Fned (43219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38509904)

Non-traditional amongst roboticists, probably.

Re:Traditional for whom ? (4, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510096)

Fned is correct. Most robots you see today are known as fully actuated systems. Examples of fully actuated sytems are robotic arms or differential drive robots, or even most humanoid robots. The reason for this control of a fully actuated systems is relatively easy and predictable; given a configuration of a fully actuated robot, we can transition the robot to any other state within its state space. This is why most humanoid robots don't look right when they walk; they strive to retain full control authority and balance at every step, whereas human's are really in a constant state of imbalance as we walk.

The problem is all the very interesting systems out there are under actuated, like the walking human. That is, they have more degrees of freedom than ways of exerting control. In nature, things like birds, fish, insects, and even bats and grasshoppers are under actuated. They have extraordinary mobility, but our robotic equivalents fail miserably. I think it's safe to say that most of the exciting problems in motion planning and control in robotics are in the area of underactuated systems.

Re:Traditional for whom ? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38511978)

The problem I see as most compelling in robotics of ANY form, is the Battery. All of these robotic designs have been around for years. But the choke point to date is the energy container, the battery. Until this bottleneck is expanded, then these other designs will always end, with a question.

Re:Traditional for whom ? (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512386)

Biologicals make due with significantly less power than our current batteries provide. We are incredibly efficient at reclaiming kinetic energy. Robotics should do the same.

Spiro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38509836)

I think some of these inventors play too many computer games.

Obligatory (0)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 2 years ago | (#38509914)

I for one welcome our new jump gliding robotic overlords.

Cleaner! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38509948)

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I can see it now (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510542)

Armed military robots bunny hopping and dolphin diving over a battlefield.

The Precision Urban Hopper, and jumping generally (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38510770)

Armed military robots bunny hopping and dolphin diving over a battlefield.

Check out the Precision Urban Hopper [youtube.com] from Boston Dynamics. This is a successor to a White Sands project for mobile land mines. Those were spheres with a fuel-powered piston that could launch them a few meters. This is a wheeled vehicle which can jump, but crash lands, which it can tolerate.

The theory of jumping locomotion is interesting, and I once did some work on that in the mid 1990s. [youtube.com] (See the kangaroo at the end.) Most locomotion is treated as maintaining some kind of stability, but that won't handle jumps. Jumps can be treated as a two-point boundary value problem. You pick the desired landing point and stance, then work backwards from that. It's rocket science - how, with only the ability to accelerate in one direction, some ability to change attitude over time, and the restriction that you spend most of the time unpowered, you get to a desired position, velocity, and time point. This is good, because rocket science is a well understood problem.

The people doing aggressive maneuvers with model helicopters and quadrotors [youtube.com] do that kind of analysis, but it hasn't filtered down to legged robots much as yet. It should.

Re:The Precision Urban Hopper, and jumping general (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512166)

After viewing the youtube clip my first reaction was that it would have been useful if the feedback sensors would be mounted on the craft. Possibly on the next prototype? Maybe the kids doing the project should ask their mentors about the mechanics of a Polaroid Land Camera. Then come back and demo their craftsmanship in the field of work that their journeymanship will be in. All in all, a nice demo.

Hopping chicken? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38511562)

Sort of like a bird with broken legs.

Robotics is dead for a while (2)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38512952)

This post has been up for hours, and there are 17 comments. Robotics is so dead it isn't funny. Reminds me of AI in the 80's - it's taken 30 years for it to make some comeback. Same thing will happen in robotics. Check back in 25 years. The processing power just isn't there at the moment. And yes it takes a ton of processing power to do anything useful with 3D images - like reacting fast enough and in a way that doesn't kill humans. Plenty of toys at the moment following black lines on the floor, but until we can process images quickly, robotics isn't going anywhere. It will be stuck in university research for many years. BTW, researching nature IS probably a good idea - and when a 1/4 lb computer can process as well as a grasshopper we might be making progress. We can't even do it with a 1 ton computer at this time.

Re:Robotics is dead for a while (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38515408)

and when a 1/4 lb computer can process as well as a grasshopper we might be making progress. We can't even do it with a 1 ton computer at this time.

The scary thing is that I can remember people saying the same thing 30 years ago.

Video was paper airplane hopping downstairs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38513334)

They probably recorded it 51 times to get the one time it didn't flip itself over.

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