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RHex Robot Shows Off Parkour Moves

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the leaping-about-all-nimbly-pimbly dept.

Robotics 46

Zothecula writes "Parkour is all about hurling yourself quickly and efficiently past whatever obstacles are in your path while maintaining as much momentum as possible. It's a challenge for humans, so how would robots fare? In an effort to push the boundaries of robotic agility, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania decided to find out by teaching their RHex robot some Parkour moves." See the Kod*lab homepage for much, much more on the RHex family.

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46 comments

First Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44410263)

... and I, for one, welcome our new Parkour-moving robot overlords!

Re:First Post (2)

crutchy (1949900) | about 9 months ago | (#44410351)

when i read the summary i was thinking of a terminator type robot that could chase down a human (considering most humans aren't strong/fast enough to do parkour)... imagine my disappointment when i clicked the link

Not much to do with parkour (5, Informative)

Laxori666 (748529) | about 9 months ago | (#44410277)

The robot hardly jumps over anything, and when it jumps onto something it doesn't even keep moving. This robot has as much to do with parkour as a baby takings its first steps has to do with olympic sprinting. Actually that would be more related because at least the baby uses basically the same limbs. So let's say an alien baby. The video left me feeling sad and disappointed, at a lower hedonic level than previously. I cannot conceive why 1300 separate people chose to upvote the video. Unless perhaps they only watched the clip of the robot sprinting into the air. Which was cool the first time. But not the following ten times.

Re:Not much to do with parkour (1, Offtopic)

Laxori666 (748529) | about 9 months ago | (#44410289)

Sometimes I make myself laugh. Just burst out laughing re-reading my comment. I think it's time to go to sleep.

Re:Not much to do with parkour (3, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | about 9 months ago | (#44410377)

If that's how you post sleep-deprived, I suggest you post sleep-deprived more often. Hilarious.

Re:Not much to do with parkour (2)

crndg (1322641) | about 9 months ago | (#44411293)

Lack of sleep or not, I think you're being a bit unfair. Maybe the headline had us envisioning a humanoid robot performing superhuman, Spider-man parkour moves, but the accomplishment of the engineering team here is not trivial. They took a robot designed for a specific 6-legged gait, and pushed it beyond its original design in creative ways. They came up with several distinct "moves" and showed how those moves might be used to traverse obstacles the robot's designers probably never imagined possible. Sure, it's not a complete, ready-for-market product. But it's still pretty cool.

Re:Not much to do with parkour (2)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 months ago | (#44411979)

Agreed. You can't sell a little six legged flippity-floppity robot leaping up one step or between two tables two feet apart by calling it something associated with this [youtu.be] . When your robot can do something even remotely like that or even this [youtube.com] , I will be massively fucking impressed.

On the other hand, I now have a new marker by which to judge robots. When they're able to do legitimate parkour (imagine not only the energy, agility, and stability necessary -- but also the intelligence) I will be absolutely fucking blown away and readily submit to my overlords. Now I kind of really want to see a movie set in a dark dystopian future, where robots are everywhere and you have these ominous robots going after someone that just won't stop, no matter what. Imagine being chased by several robots that could move like that and follow you everywhere? Holy shit that would be utterly terrifying.

Re:Not much to do with parkour (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 9 months ago | (#44412907)

This parent post is a jealous robot. Read again in a robot voice:

The robot hardly jumps over anything,
and when it jumps onto something it doesn't even keep moving.

This robot has as much to do with parkour as a baby
taking its first steps has to do with olympic sprinting.

Actually that would be more related because at least the baby
uses basically the same limbs.
So let's say an alien baby.

The video left me feeling sad and disappointed,
at a lower hedonic level than previously.

I cannot conceive why 1300 separate people chose to upvote the video.

Unless perhaps they only watched the clip of the robot sprinting into the air.
Which was cool the first time.
But not the following ten times.

NO CARRIER

Re:Not much to do with parkour (1)

sootman (158191) | about 9 months ago | (#44414191)

Yeah. If the headline would have been "robot has some neat ways to travel" it would have been fine -- and on that scale, it's quite an accomplishment -- but it had absolutely NOTHING to do with parkour at all.

Parkour? (1)

Killian35 (1321571) | about 9 months ago | (#44410279)

I think it could be the next American Ninja Warrior!

Re:Parkour? (0)

crutchy (1949900) | about 9 months ago | (#44410359)

now now... i know it's only a prototype but it's not really fair to compare it to "american ninja"... a black belt in american ninja is awarded for being able to get off the couch and put your pyjamas on by yourself

The point of grabbing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44410317)

after a jump is to pull yourself up. Without that last step the sequence of moves loses its purpose.

Re:The point of grabbing (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#44410393)

I'm betting it falls off...otherwise it'd be in the video.

I quite like the design - it seems to cope with different terrain quite well (but the ride wouldn't be smooth if you were sat on it). I think it needs active hinges in the legs for the next version though.

That's just great. (1)

lxs (131946) | about 9 months ago | (#44410343)

Before you know it one of these things will flip out and we have to send Tom Selleck to try and catch it. The man is 68! He can't go running after robots anymore.

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44410357)

Parkour is about having a beard, a check shirt and stupid glasses.

Cunts.

Bad video of a cool technology (2)

Demonantis (1340557) | about 9 months ago | (#44410375)

The video is pretty poorly done. The editing will make people think they are trying to mislead people. It’s pretty amazing considering how light the robot must be. I was left wondering how it knew the obstacle it was attacking. It didn't have any cameras I could see. They probably had to set it up for each maneuver. It would have been neat to see a sequence of maneuvers performed.

Re:Bad video of a cool technology (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about 9 months ago | (#44410397)

Yep, I was really hoping to see it follow an obstacle course with a sequence of different challenges for it to traverse (that's what "Parkour robot" conjures up in my mind, anyway). My hopes were raised when they started the clip of it following the rubber trackway, but all that led to was a millimetre-deep puddle of water.

Seems cool and all, but I'd suggest that programming a legged robot to fling itself over gaps is probably the least of the challenges of making an all-terrain robot. Programming it to identify obstacles with a small camera and identify the best way of crossing it would be the tricky part.

Am I the only one who read this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44410389)

""Parkour is all about _hurting_ yourself quickly and efficiently"...

Re:Am I the only one who read this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44410825)

""Parkour is all about _hurting_ yourself quickly and efficiently"...

No, the AC below you read the same thing. But other than that, yes, you were the only one.

Freudian reading slip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44410439)

Was it only I who initially read the first line of the summary as "Parkour is all about *hurting* yourself quickly and efficiently..." ?

Re:Freudian reading slip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44410815)

Was it only I who initially read the first line of the summary as "Parkour is all about *hurting* yourself quickly and efficiently..." ?

No, the AC above you read the same thing. But other than that, yes, you were the only one.

Parkour is nuts (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 9 months ago | (#44410443)

When a couple Americans went to Japan to compete on Ninja Warrior, the show included a few clips of them doing Parkour. All I can say is - I wouldn't want to be their insurance company! But some of that is seriously impressive. ... Which is why this robot video was so disappointing. If they hadn't gone out of their way to mention "Parkour" I might've found it cool - but while the robot traveled quickly, other than the backflip (which apparently was some set piece) everything else was mundane. Okay it went up some shallow stairs and slightly uneven ground - I'm not sure that's considered Parkour.

Re:Parkour is nuts (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 9 months ago | (#44413309)

Okay it went up some shallow stairs and slightly uneven ground - I'm not sure that's considered Parkour.

You've got to compare it with similar sized robots. To a Roomba, going up stairs is awe inspiring; and being able to cling to a vertical surface instead of backing up, turning a random angle and heading off again, must blow its mind.

More appropriate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44410483)

"Parkour is all about hurling yourself quickly and efficiently..."
I think this is more appropriate:
"Parkour is all about hurting yourself quickly and efficiently."

City Wide Parkour Transport System (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44410491)

Network of robots doing parkour above our heads with our packages, going straight lines to their destinations over the city, without yelling "parkour!" at random locations.

Parkour is all about hurting (1)

tkuCheck (2944677) | about 9 months ago | (#44410571)

At first I read: "Parkour is all about hurting yourself quickly and efficiently [...]".
Not sure how far from the truth that would be :-D

Parkour (1)

Optimal Cynic (2886377) | about 9 months ago | (#44410783)

I thought parkour was about showing off? Did they make a robot with an ego to stroke?

Re:Parkour (2)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 9 months ago | (#44410851)

Free running in theory is the more theatrical. The purist parkour is looking for the most efficient way to go from A to B which could involve jumping gaps, shooting through tiny holes, climbing walls, etc. So a parkour purist won't be doing flips and whatnot. Where the showing off comes is that A and B have a maze in between.

Re:Parkour (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44411099)

The most efficient way to get from one side of a park bench to the other is to walk around it, not jump over it.

Re:Parkour (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 9 months ago | (#44411417)

Energy efficient, yes. Distance efficient, no. If you are being chased by the police going over it will be better than going around it.

Love it (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 9 months ago | (#44410847)

My guess for robots is that they will end up being insectile in design. Most of the tasks that we will assign them will be more like ants. I have never complete understood the general Japanese direction of attempting humanoid robots. While cool we already have lots of humans. Some might argue that we also have lots of tools designed for people and these would then be available to humanoid robots. But if I wanted a robot to drill holes all day I am pretty sure that I would just design the drill as an a attachment in a multi purpose robot or build it right into a single purpose robot.

Many kudos to the designer of this robot by virtue that a key obstacle to useful robots are obstacles. A great example of terrible locomotion robots would be those bomb disposal robots. They just lumber along looking like they are going to tip and most don't look like they could negotiate a curb and certainly not some stairs.

My only complaint about this innovative robot would be that its nemesis would be dental floss. That badboy would become a tangled mess moments after encountering something like floss.

Re:Love it (1)

PurpleAlien (797797) | about 9 months ago | (#44410907)

One of the main reasons the Japanese have been doing so much work on human looking robots is a social problem: they have a graying population (for a long time already), and the goal was to have robots that could replace people taking care of the elderly, disabled, etc. In that use case, it helps to have a robot that looks human instead of a possibly creepy looking machine. Problems such as the 'uncanny valley' issue were intended to be solved as well.

that's not parkour (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44410849)

clearly the poster has no clue what parkour is. It's about artful movement using the obstacles in one's environment. There's nothing artful about that robot. Sure it's cool and neat, but there's no "art" there.

really.. (1)

crossmr (957846) | about 9 months ago | (#44411285)

hurling yourself quickly and efficiently past whatever obstacles are in your path while maintaining as much momentum as possible.

If this were true, then we wouldn't see all these videos of people doing weird 2 handed hops over things that are either not directly in their path or barely thigh high.

Re:really.. (1)

Brian Feldman (350) | about 9 months ago | (#44411483)

Because it's much smarter to try to simply leap unassisted over thigh-high barriers, possibly snagging your toes by not being able to leap high enough because you were too macho to do a proper vault, resulting in face-planting and eating concrete. Glad to have you as a parkour instructor!

Re:really.. (0)

crossmr (957846) | about 9 months ago | (#44411783)

barely thigh high things, not even barriers, things like those island square benches, or stuff like that, and if you want to talk about smart, how about just opening a door rather than stopping, assessing it, leaping off 2 walls and diving through a tiny window above the door without knowing what's on the other side.. if you think you're capable of that and it's smart, you really shouldn't be worried about catching your toe on a short little obstacle, especially one which you pretty much have to go out of your way to encounter.

Parkour is no remotely about quickly and efficiently..it's about showing off and pretending that's what it is about. It's like the pro wrestling of running.

Re:really.. (1)

neonKow (1239288) | about 9 months ago | (#44412217)

Grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure are also for posers who want to sound all educated and crap. Good thing you never bothered learning anything about them or about parkour before dismissing them! I sure am glad someone around here gets me, because I really didn't want to read an informed opinion.

Re:really.. (2)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 months ago | (#44412061)

You're confusing parkour with freerunning. They are similar, but one is about efficient traversal from point to point. They're similar and both are cool, but parkour is something a robot would do, say, in pursuit of a human suspect that was running away. Freerunning is something a human would be more likely to do and especially, say, if it were in an Olympic event (which it fucking should be, damn it).

source: I'm a fat old man with a bad back, but I watch the shit out of some youtube videos.

previous names of Parkour: 'buildering" (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 9 months ago | (#44412201)

Gynastistics/boarding on urban buildings went by other names in the past. In the 1980s we called it buildering.

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44413727)

But can it run Linux? /rimshot

Hipster robotics! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44414307)

This is an exciting leap into the field of hipster robotics.

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