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XRL Hexapod Robot Gets a Tail, Learns To Use It

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the robo-lizard-overlords dept.

Robotics 52

New submitter toygeek writes "In an effort to give various robots more control during free-fall and navigation of severe obstacles, researchers have studied how agama lizards use their tails to retain or correct orientation during leaps and jumps. They've applied the research to both hexapod and wheeled robots, and the results are both astounding, and outstanding!"

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insurance advice (-1, Offtopic)

zizzlezazzledazzle (2697047) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824215)

You can mark this as a troll, but I assure you I am totally serious and I want to ask for advice. I can not think of anywhere else to post anonymously that smart people read. I am finalizing a plan to kill me. Please do not bother to try to stop me. I have my reasons, and I thought, as well as the heavy with pros and cons to all options. I will take my life alone, without voilence towards any other people. My question to all this mean. I married the love of my life a few months ago. For the record, has nothing to do with this, and I could not imagine finding another girl as wonderful as she is. I have a $ 10K life insurance through my employer, but will not pay for suicide. I am looking for insurance that will. I can not think of any way to do that reasonably can not be removed as a suicide attempt. My plan is to park my car in a nature reserve just to shoot me in the head. No witnesses, no explosions, no shit. Someone must have looked before. I just want to make sure she's in charge. The pain of having to look after my final arrangements is bad enough without having to break later due to my lack of income. The dead do not bring home paychecks. I have about $ 1500 on my credit cards and about $ 8k in savings, so I will not be out of debt at all. I just want to make sure she's in charge. The serious answers would be greatly appreciated. Pardon my English is not my native language.

Re:insurance advice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40824271)

Life insurance won't pay out for this.

If I understand you, even after your savings are applied you will still be in debt (this is the meaning of being 'not out of debt'). You could give her the money, but the problem is they can come after her for the money to pay your debts, because of the marriage. If you had not married her then you could have given her the money or given it to someone else to give to her later, to prevent it being collected.

You are right, the dead do not bring home paychecks. If you love her then help support her while staying alive. Otherwise the best you can do is to conceal the money from the people you owe in such a way that your wife can secretly reach it, probably after some short delay. This may be fraud but if you are dead then they are not going to get you for it. She will have to be discreet as well.

Re:insurance advice (0)

irenaeous (898337) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824311)

Life is a gift and your misery is in your mind only. External circumstances do not matter, only what you think matters. Do you really want to hurt and destroy the love of your life like this? She would be devastated by this. Do you have a mother, father? Other family? What will this do to them? I know, the death of someone close to you is a pain you can never erase, but if that person had killed themselves it would be so much worse because it would be so senseless. You seem like someone who cares about others, so why would you do so selfish and cowardly an act as this? And cause all this pain to all those who love you? Don't. Get help. You don't have to do this. It gets better.

Re:insurance advice (1)

qbast (1265706) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826645)

Life is a gift and your misery is in your mind only.

Whose gift to whom?

External circumstances do not matter, only what you think matters. Do you really want to hurt and destroy the love of your life like this? She would be devastated by this. Do you have a mother, father? Other family? What will this do to them?

If external circumstances do not matter, then he is hardly "destroying" love of his life. She will get over it and find someone else in time.

I know, the death of someone close to you is a pain you can never erase, but if that person had killed themselves it would be so much worse because it would be so senseless.

Accidents are senseless, suicide has actual reason.

You seem like someone who cares about others, so why would you do so selfish and cowardly an act as this? And cause all this pain to all those who love you?

Where did that "suicide is cowardly" nonsense came from?

Don't. Get help. You don't have to do this.

It is his life and he has the right to do with it whatever he pleases. Including ending it.

It gets better.

Yeah, and dozen other things get worse. Suicide at least is surefire way to end all past, present and future problems.

Re:insurance advice (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40831145)

Accidents are senseless, suicide has actual reason.

So does murder. You're ok with murder?

Where did that "suicide is cowardly" nonsense came from?

Suicide is an escape; a coward's escape. It's also the ultimate in selfishness.

It is his life and he has the right to do with it whatever he pleases. Including ending it.

And it's the GP's right to try and do the decent thing and try to talk him out of it, instead of the evil you are doing by cheering the GGP's suicide on. What kind of a God damned monster are you? OH, I see, an athiest, maybe even an antitheist. Carry on, then. You'll find out in the end, poor fool.

Suicide at least is surefire way to end all past, present and future problems.

Again, you're going to be pretty damed surprised when your own end comes.

Re:insurance advice (1)

qbast (1265706) | more than 2 years ago | (#40832117)

Accidents are senseless, suicide has actual reason.

So does murder. You're ok with murder?

As with everything, the answer is "it depends". I am sure you are able to come up with a scenario which makes murder best option available.

Where did that "suicide is cowardly" nonsense came from?

Suicide is an escape; a coward's escape. It's also the ultimate in selfishness.

Says your holy book?

It is his life and he has the right to do with it whatever he pleases. Including ending it.

And it's the GP's right to try and do the decent thing and try to talk him out of it, instead of the evil you are doing by cheering the GGP's suicide on.

Decent thing is to let him decide what he wants to do with *his* life. His, not yours or anybody else.

What kind of a God damned monster are you? OH, I see, an athiest, maybe even an antitheist. Carry on, then. You'll find out in the end, poor fool.

Suicide at least is surefire way to end all past, present and future problems. Again, you're going to be pretty damed surprised when your own end comes.

Your religious ranting is not even worth responding to.

Re:insurance advice (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40842191)

I am sure you are able to come up with a scenario which makes murder best option available.

I can't.

Says your holy book?

If it says that I must have missed that part.

Decent thing is to let him decide what he wants to do with *his* life. His, not yours or anybody else.

The DECENT thing to do is to try to talk him, not force him, into doing the right thing.

Your religious ranting is not even worth responding to.

Yet you responded anyway.

Re:insurance advice (1)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40832993)

All I need to say is that someday you must regret this. Encouraging someone to suicide is Nazy-level of evil.

Roots keep us from falling over in storms (-1, Troll)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824485)

You could ask yourself, could life be made worth living for you? Also, you could look into vitamin D deficiency, iodine deficiency, phyto-nutrient deficiency, omega-3 deficiency, sleep deficiency, and so on (and avoiding refined carbohydrates like sugar and white flour). More info on heath issues here:
http://www.changemakers.com/discussions/discussion-493#comment-38823 [changemakers.com]

A life is like a growing tree. What keeps a tree from toppling over in the storms of life is deep roots. To reduce the risk of toppling over in a strom, grow your roots -- friends, family, community, neighbors, hobbies, recreations, communing with the infinite, nature, music, and so on.

See also:
"Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life's Ordeals"
http://books.google.com/books/about/Dark_Nights_of_the_Soul.html?id=EG1E8boPodQC [google.com]
"Every human journey is filled with emotional tunnels: the loss of a loved one or end of a relationship, aging and illness, career disappointments, or just an ongoing sense of dissatisfaction with life. Society tends to view these "dark nights" in clinical terms as obstacles to be overcome as quickly as possible. But Thomas Moore's extensive career as a psychologist and theologian has taught him that honoring these periods of fragility as periods of incubation and opportunities to delve into the soul's deepest needs can provide healing and a new understanding of life's meaning. Dark Nights of the Soul presents these metaphoric dark nights not as the enemy, but as times of transition, occasions to restore yourself, and transforming rites of passage. Moore shows specific ways to engage life more deeply through particular challenges and shares a powerful new outlook. With the soothing, accessible tone and practical philosophy that have made Moore an internationally beloved author, Dark Nights of the Soul will help you tend to the deepest needs of the heart and spirit in a modern world full of life's challenges, and is sure to be a comforting companion during your most difficult times. Every human life is made up of the light and the dark, the happy and the sad, the vital and the deadening. How you think about this rhythm of moods makes all the difference. From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Care of the Soul comes the long-anticipated sequel, an uplifting and groundbreaking approach to life's darkest hours. Moore shows specific ways to engage life more deeply through particular challenges and shares a powerful new outlook on such topics as: The healing power of melancholy; The sexual dark night and the mysteries of matrimony; Finding solace during illness and in aging; Anxiety, anger, and temporary Insanities; Linking creativity, spirituality, and emotional struggles; Finding meaning and beauty in the darkness."

Or, as Howard Zinn said:
http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1108-21.htm [commondreams.org]
"In this awful world where the efforts of caring people often pale in comparison to what is done by those who have power, how do I manage to stay involved and seemingly happy? I am totally confident not that the world will get better, but that we should not give up the game before all the cards have been played. The metaphor is deliberate; life is a gamble. Not to play is to foreclose any chance of winning.
    To play, to act, is to create at least a possibility of changing the world. There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people's thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible. What leaps out from the history of the past hundred years is its utter unpredictability. This confounds us, because we are talking about exactly the period when human beings became so ingenious technologically that they could plan and predict the exact time of someone landing on the moon, or walk down the street talking to someone halfway around the earth."

You might also find this long essay of interest:
"Post-Scarcity Princeton, or, Reading between the lines of PAW for prospective Princeton students, or, the Health Risks of Heart Disease"
http://www.pdfernhout.net/reading-between-the-lines.html [pdfernhout.net]
"With Princeton-praising articles titled "Jumping From the Ivory Tower", it seems like PAW is not helping answer these deep questions. If anything, PAW is helping bury them under inappropriate humor. This essay is not intended in any way to condone violence or the abdication of personal responsibility. But it is intended to help understand some of these issues of suicide and alienation in a university context, and to make suggestions for improvements to the social part of these issues. It even tries to use humor in relation to suicide and morbid themes a bit more appropriately (satirically about PU in this case, discussing options like its voluntary peaceful self-dissolution to help a billion poor children get an education, or its metaphorical death and rebirth as an agent of global economic transcendence to a post-scarcity society of abundance for all). It is always easier to destroy than to create, so this essay includes some specific suggestions for improving the situation at Princeton University, which is a mythologically troubled institution (even as it is filled with many wonderful and caring people). ... In the end, what I have learned about suicide is that it is ironically a hopeful act and a sign of great faith. It is hope things could get better, and faith that one's actions can make one's world a better place. Anyone even thinking of it has the seeds within themselves for something much more life-affirming. Still, as Bruce Dern portrayed in Silent Running, and as Emile Durkheim wrote on, it is ultimately integration into a life-affirming community that best sustains us. There is only so much a life led in isolation can get you, even if it is the protective isolation against an seeming obviously suicidal society built around unilateral dominance, mutually assured destruction, and a codependency of an administration and the terrorism it has built its power on. "

Re:Roots keep us from falling over in storms (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40824713)

bollocks

Re:insurance advice (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40824593)

Get help. There's really no way that this is a good idea.

Re:insurance advice (0)

SternisheFan (2529412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824885)

I've been at 'the edge', and came back. Shitty way to go out, pretty messy, too. She's gonna have to I.d. whats left of you, why would you do that to her? Pretty goddamn selfish of you, if you ask me. Suicide is a selfish act. What kind of pain are you in?, because lots of other people live with pain every day. You don't love her like you claim you do, or you wouldn't be ideating like you are. Google some sites about suicide, read 'em all, think about how you're gonna explain yourself to God when you're asked why you ended your life before it was meant to be. And what if you survive your attempt? It happens more often than not. Now you're damaged and survived! Nah, stick it out like the rest of us have to. Good luck to you, Sir.

Re:insurance advice (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40832127)

think about how you're gonna explain yourself to God when you're asked why you ended your life before it was meant to be.

There are a lot of athiests here, he may not believe in God (boy, is he going to be surprised when he finds out!)

Re:insurance advice (1, Funny)

tbird81 (946205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824919)

What about the people who have to clean up your body? What about how your wife would feel knowing that you did this.

If you're not a troll, and you're depressed, then things will get better. They always do.
If you're in debt, do what rich people do and declare yourself bankrupt.
Why you pick the name zizzlezazzledazzle?

Re:insurance advice (0)

SternisheFan (2529412) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824941)

You want to kill yourself over $$$? DON'T!!! The day will come when you'll be making money again, just ain't today! Do what you gotta do to keep going, get your ass to a hospital and ask for help. Tell that mate whats going on. Trust me, she's not gonna think you really loved here afterwards, because you left her alone to live her life without you there to help her. Are you getting ehat I'm putting down? THINK about it. God don't want you yet, not that way!

STOP AND READ THIS PLEASE (1, Offtopic)

toygeek (473120) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824985)

If you aren't in fact a troll, then please stop. Get help. Go to your nearest hospital, tell them your plan, and be honest.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

I have been *this* close to stepping in front of a fast moving train. I went to my psychologist, and I spent a week in a mental hospital. It saved my life. I was on very strong anti-depressants for over 10 years, and am now (prescription and otherwise) drug free. If anyone's ever been completely whacked in the head, and ready to kill myself, I have.

Two things changed me. 1) Two of my relatives killed themselves. My stepdad, via alcoholism ("if you drink more, it'll kill you" glug glug glug) and one via a pill cocktail. What I went through, and what my family went through, were not something I ever want to put another person through.

The second thing: Learning to actually cope with my problems instead of being buried by them, and in turn burying my feelings. That killed me emotionally and almost killed my physically.

I know it seems like there is no way out. But to actually kill yourself will NOT give you relief. It will end your suffering, but that same suffering, and worse will be transferred to others. Additionally, you won't be around to ENJOY the relief!

One more thing: If you STOP, GET HELP, and ACT on the help you're given, in 10, 5, even 2 years from now, this will all be a DISTANT MEMORY and you'll be SO GLAD you did not act foolishly and selfishly.

Re:insurance advice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40825545)

I saw this over at 4chan and found it elegant in it's wisdom:

the world is now your oyster [chan4chan.com]

I seriously believe in a persons right to end their life if they feel it truly has become not worth living any more. But that doesn't mean I should help you either.

Re:insurance advice (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40825553)

Slashdot admin should report IP of this to try and backtrack it to source and alert authorities. Unless on deaths door because of cancer no reason to check out early. Hope it is isn't an honour or pride thing, cause that's the worst reason. Get help. Don't be afraid to ask. It can save your life.

Re:insurance advice (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826829)

MARK OP UP

Re:insurance advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40828317)

YES MOD PARENT UP!

Sometimes your brain is not your friend (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40828475)

I have thought about it. Often. But probably not come as close as you sound like you are.
But bear this in mind: your brain cannot tell when it is coming up with the wrong answers to questions. There is no error-detection / correction. So you need to rely on other people to help solve problems sometimes.
Having a "plan" may trick your brain into thinking that it feels better. But you have not solved any problem with this plan; its illusion.

Try to have one good day. Just forget about your problems and your plan and have a good day. Dont spend money; just try to enjoy breathing. Then come up with a new plan to get out from the spot you are in. It will feel good to have a plan that doesnt involve violence.

Re:insurance advice (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40829935)

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. How could you want to hurt the woman you say you love? Please get professional help. Today there are effective treatments for your mental illness.

Use sound reason - save your life! (1)

JOrgePeixoto (853808) | more than 2 years ago | (#40832963)

Your brain may be tricking you. Suicide is absurd. Life is better than death. It is great to exist. If your brain tells you otherwise, most likely it is buggy. Get professional help. Please!

And a suicide is _awful_ for your friends and loved ones. Besides the expected sadness of losing a friend, they will be tormented by thoughts of "would he have decided otherwise if I had been a better friend?"

Besides, suicide can fail, and then you will add physical disability to your existing problems! I could share some pictures of failed suicides with you, but they are too shocking.

If you think people with hardships cannot be happy, check http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/ [lifewithoutlimbs.org]

Courage!

Re:insurance advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40835283)

Job 11
13 “ If you would direct your heart right
And spread out your hand to Him,
14 If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away,
And do not let wickedness dwell in your tents;
15 “Then, indeed, you could lift up your face without moral defect,
And you would be steadfast and not fear.
16 “For you would forget your trouble,
As waters that have passed by, you would remember it.
17 “Your life would be brighter than noonday;
Darkness would be like the morning.
18 “Then you would trust, because there is hope;
And you would look around and rest securely.
19 “You would lie down and none would disturb you,
And many would entreat your favor.
20 “But the eyes of the wicked will fail,
And there will be no escape for them;
And their hope is to breathe their last.”

Gee, you'd think a cat would be better (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824323)

It could lead to an anti-gravity robot.

Re:Gee, you'd think a cat would be better (4, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824411)

Not only that, a cat uses its tail to turn over in mid-air so that even if you drop it with its feet pointing up it will land feet first as long as it has enough falling time to make the turn. I'm not sure, but I think I've heard of them getting turned in as little as 1.5 feet, but ICBW. Still it would be a great improvement over what they've got so far.

Re:Gee, you'd think a cat would be better (4, Interesting)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824595)

I just watched the related videos, and it is impressive just what an up and down tail can do. But you're right that a tail that can move side-to-side, or that can curl or corkscrew can probably do even more to maintain a desired 3D orientation. No doubt that will be future directions for this work. So, in the real world, it seems like a common situation that you want to maintain the orientation of 90% of the mass of an object, and are willing to sacrifice the 3D orientation of 10% for a short time to do that (until the tail orientation can be reset at no body-orientation cost when the creature is on a surface again). Brilliant. These robot videos really show how amazing nature can be. I really appreciate tails in a way I never had before watching those videos. I especially found of interest video about a predecessor robot to this which includes video footage of the long-tailed lizard used as a prototype:
http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/diy/dinosaurlike-tails-make-terrestrial-mobile-robots-more-agile [ieee.org]

Re:Gee, you'd think a cat would be better (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40824597)

It depends on how the a cat falls but they can flip in less than a foot if needed.
I've also seen my cat fall from much higher and not recover in time.

I regularly test this one out, she's not to happy being held sometimes so we both screw this move up from time to time.

It's not all tail either, she's using her entire body when she does it.

Re:Gee, you'd think a cat would be better (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824935)

You forgot the toast...

Re:Gee, you'd think a cat would be better (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40827245)

Not only that, a cat uses its tail to turn over in mid-air ...

False. Even a tailess cat lands feet first. Cats use their tails for balance. They turn over in mid-air by twisting their bodies... has nothing to do with their tail.

Re:Gee, you'd think a cat would be better (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40830797)

Thank you. I sit corrected.

Re:Gee, you'd think a cat would be better (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40838871)

Thank you. I sit corrected.

too nice! too gracious! (you must be new here). No! I THANK YOU!!

Re:Gee, you'd think a cat would be better (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40829037)

That crossed my mind as well -- why study lizards when cats are so adept at landing right side up? If they'd studied cats, they'd know that the stronger the cat's tail, the better an athelete the cat is, so it stands to reason that the better designed the robot's tail, the better the robot will be at its job.

For the love of... (3, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824325)

UC Berkeley researchers, please: Stop now. No good can come from this, and we all know it.

We already have enough trouble getting laid, and yet you would put us on the path to anthropomorphic clydesdales?

Re:For the love of... (1, Informative)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824447)

Not to mention, sowing the seeds of the robot holocaust.

The end of the human race was heralded... (3, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824545)

...by the words, 'That tail is so adorable!'

Re:The end of the human race was heralded... (1)

TheMathemagician (2515102) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826529)

Just give it a penis then it will waste all day drinking beer and failing to interface with female robots.

Why go to all that trouble? (3, Funny)

jcoy42 (412359) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824615)

They should have just tied a slice of buttered bread to it's back.

Re:Why go to all that trouble? (1)

Caesar Tjalbo (1010523) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826659)

I got the impression it's not supposed to land on its back, so you'd want to tie the buttered bread to the underside (which is easier albeit perhaps less effective than a plate of spaghetti upside-down).

In a butter world... (2)

goodgod43 (1993368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824677)

Imagine what this could do for toast.

ZzZzZzZz (-1, Troll)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824827)

More "keep the rich colleges rich" schemes.

Can we please have some robotics research on something that is not obvious to a 3 year old with a cat? Making this practical and useful would be a decent start. What I see here is of 0 value. You move something you get a reaction, react fast enough it does things - big fucking yawn. Ever hear of a gyro?

Again I ask, how much of my tax money got spent on that? It's fraud.

For the moment I would support a law that says all (US) public money should be in support of current darpa challenges only. Anything else, take it private.

Flywheel (4, Informative)

labnet (457441) | more than 2 years ago | (#40824891)

Wouldn't a flywheel be much more practical?

Tail:
-gets caught on stuff
-can only go half a turn

Flywheel:
-can accelerate until the material limits of the fly wheel
-can use the stored energy for recovery.
-can be embedded inside the robot.
-can act as a gyroscope to provide stability in other axes.
 

Re:Flywheel (4, Informative)

billyswong (1858858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40825197)

Flywheel is less efficient weight-wise. To re-balance a 8kg robot (or even heavier model later) falling upside down, how heavy / how fast must the flywheel be?

Tail can be further improved by giving it more angles of freedom. We can also let it be able to coil up. Hard to beat tail.

Re:Flywheel (1)

mako1138 (837520) | more than 2 years ago | (#40825251)

Define practical; it doesn't get much simpler than a weight on a servo. In contrast, how much torque can you get from a small compact flywheel and how much is it going to cost? How quickly can you regeneratively brake it with decent energy recovery?

(You might be interested in this control-moment gyro controlled ballbot [ucsd.edu] .)

Re:Flywheel (2)

SandorZoo (2318398) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826609)

Reaction wheels (or flywheels) and control-moment gyros work differently, even though they can both be used to create torque,

Reaction wheels spin up (or spin down) the wheel to create torque - the axis of the wheel does not change. The tail in this robot is an unusual case of a reaction wheel - it's not actually a wheel, but is uses the same princple.

CMGs [wikipedia.org] use the gyroscopic effect you get from changing the axis of a spinning wheel to create torque. The rotation speed of the wheel is (usually) constant. They use little power and can be very powerful. The ISS uses them to maintain attitude.

Re:Flywheel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40827663)

I learned recently that monster trucks do this with their massive wheels to right themselves during jumps.

Been there, done that. (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40825695)

Worked that out back in 1995. See this the "running on rough terrain video. [animats.com] Watch at 1:40.

The next step, which the U. Penn people don't seem to have taken yet, is to solve this as a two-point boundary value problem. Then, instead of trying to maintain attitude during flight, you try to land at a specific time in a specific place with a specific attitude.

Doing that is rocket science. Rocket science is about control of underactuated systems, where the control system has fewer actuators than there are degrees of freedom to be controlled. You want to reach a specified point at a specified time at a specified velocity in a specified attitude. All you have available is the ability to thrust in one direction and to change attitude slowly. But this problem is solveable and there are known solutions. Applying that to robots leads to gymnastics.

The quadrotor people are already doing this kind of thing, but it hasn't been done much for legged machines yet.

Re:Been there, done that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40826695)

Better link [youtube.com] , the balancing is at 1:20.

The graphics are scruffy and the music is annoying first thing in the morning, but it's very impressive.

Re:Been there, done that. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40838843)

The graphics are scruffy and the music is annoying first thing in the morning, but it's very impressive.

True. That was made on a Mac IIci, and the audio is 8-bit. It took hours to run a simulation like that back then. I spent a few years after that working on simulation technology.

Simulating real legged machines with realistic simulation of ground contact is still a CPU hog today. Video games mostly fake their contact physics.

Never mind robots... (2)

rizole (666389) | more than 2 years ago | (#40826343)

I want a tail. A prehensile monkey tail. I'd prefer to grow my own but if robotics get the solution before genetics I'll take a prosthetic one.

But why a tail? Isn't a flywheel/gyroscope better? (2)

rocket rancher (447670) | more than 2 years ago | (#40828775)

I'm not a mechanical engineer, but I am a mathematician with a modicum of experience solving two-point boundary value problems, which are what you are up against when you have an energy budget and have fewer thrusters than degrees of freedom. Angular momentum (and the conservation thereof) is a much better approach, I would think...watch some Olympic gymnasts if you want to see some fine examples of human wetware doing this in real-time.

Two legs and two tails is best (1)

Randym (25779) | more than 2 years ago | (#40901175)

Since you are dealing with 3D space, you will need *4* points of awareness to keep the center of gravity in balance. You might think that 3 legs and one tail would be best, but then you have to deal with a disbalanced processing problem: triangulation in space, followed by an add-on to balance that. Better to deal with three 2-point axle balancing problems instead. (A:B, C:D, AB:CD).

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