Robotics

ATRIAS bipedal robot can take a beating and keep walking

ATRIAS bipedal robot can take ...
An ATRIAS bipedal bot can recover from a swift, sudden kick (Photo: Oregon State University)
An ATRIAS bipedal bot can recover from a swift, sudden kick (Photo: Oregon State University)
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ATRIAS outfitted with a wireless receiver (Photo: Oregon State University)
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ATRIAS outfitted with a wireless receiver (Photo: Oregon State University)
An ATRIAS robot in action (Photo: Oregon State University)
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An ATRIAS robot in action (Photo: Oregon State University)
A robot and its inspiration in miniature (Photo: Oregon State University)
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A robot and its inspiration in miniature (Photo: Oregon State University)
Preparing for a walk (Photo: Oregon State University)
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Preparing for a walk (Photo: Oregon State University)
ATRIAS broken down to its parts (Photo: Oregon State University)
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ATRIAS broken down to its parts (Photo: Oregon State University)
An ATRIAS bipedal bot can recover from a swift, sudden kick (Photo: Oregon State University)
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An ATRIAS bipedal bot can recover from a swift, sudden kick (Photo: Oregon State University)
ATRIAS "stands" by walking in place (Photo: Oregon State University)
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ATRIAS "stands" by walking in place (Photo: Oregon State University)
The assembly housing the robot's motor (Photo: Oregon State University)
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The assembly housing the robot's motor (Photo: Oregon State University)
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The great tradition of designing robots inspired by the many beautiful forms of locomotion seen in the animal kingdom likely predates robotics itself, arguably stretching all the way back to Michelangelo's time. Standing on the shoulders of such giants is ATRIAS, a series of human-sized bipedal robots that remind us of other two-legged creatures like the ostrich or emu.

ATRIAS is a project of Oregon State University's Dynamic Robotics Laboratory built to research the science of walking and running with the ultimate goal of creating a robot that can make its way over rough terrain while "standing." The ATRIAS design is based around two spring-loaded legs similar to that of a pogo stick, but rather than causing the robot to bounce around, its springy legs act as both a suspension system and storage mechanism for mechanical energy, theoretically making it more agile and efficient.

ATRIAS seems a bit goofy at first. It has no real feet to speak of, just the small end points of its legs, and it "stands" by basically walking in place, so it's almost always moving.

The team behind ATRIAS compares it to a sports car, in that all its mechanisms are designed and tuned to work together for maximum performance. But like many fast cars, the creators also concede that the robot isn't easy to control. Because it is designed to be as close to a simple spring-mass system as possible (ATRIAS stands for "Assume The Robot Is A Sphere), the mathematics typically used to control robot walking don't work for it, requiring researchers to invent new controllers as they go.

A robot and its inspiration in miniature (Photo: Oregon State University)
A robot and its inspiration in miniature (Photo: Oregon State University)

The goal of ATRIAS isn't just to create a walking robot, but to create one that is better at reacting and recovering from unexpected obstacles. As you can see from the video below, ATRIAS holds its own against a barrage of dodge balls, failing only when its emergency shut-off button is accidentally struck by a ball. With a little more engineering, it seems easy to imagine ATRIAS making one heck of a goalie some day.

In addition to the Oregon State lab, prototypes are also in use in research at the University of Michigan and Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania.

For a closer look at ATRIAS, the team behind it will be demonstrating at the DARPA Robotics Challenge in southern California in June.

Source: Oregon State University

ATRIAS Robot: Dodgeball Barrage

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2 comments
2 comments
Daishi
As someone with a growing dislike of biped robots I find these projects kind of humorous. They are like a rube goldberg experiment in transportation.
2,000 lbs of parts, 4 universities, and the backing of darpa and they got a robot tethered to an engine lift and a power source to walk in place while a dodge ball is thrown at it. Bravo.
It's likely possible to build a more capable machine made and powered by almost nothing by potatoes. That should be a new rule. Enough time, money, and research has gone into bipeds that if a biped robot isn't more mobile than something that can be made entirely out of a potato you don't get to call it a success.
Can a potato climb stairs? No, but neither can this.
JPAR
Seriously? this robot is in desperate need of a wee !!!