Unitree quadruped robots get a helping hand – a whole arm, in fact
Chinese company Unitree's quadruped robots are clearly influenced by the SpotMini bot, which can be equipped with a rather creepy-looking manipulator arm. Not to be outdone, Unitree has now announced an arm of its own, which will allow its robots to perform a variety of new tasks.
Known as the Z1, the arm is presently in functioning prototype form, and should reportedly be available soon.
It gets mounted on the top front end of a Unitree Aliengo or B1 robot – or on "other mobile robots" – and works with interchangeable actuator tools such as a two-fingered pincer, a three-fingered soft grasper, or a dual-suction-cup attachment. These allow it to do things like picking up objects, opening doors, and installing or removing screws.
The Z1 will actually be available in two models, the Air and the Pro. Both feature six degrees of freedom, collision detection functionality, Ubuntu operating system compatibility, and the ability to be taught tasks by being physically guided through the necessary movements.
The Air is the lighter of the two, tipping the scales at 4.1 kg (9 lb) as opposed to the Pro's 4.3 kg (9.5 lb). It's also a little weaker, though, with a maximum lifting capacity of 2 kg (4.4 lb) instead of the Pro's 5 kg (11 lb).
There's presently no word on exactly when the Z1 will be available, or at what price. In the meantime, you can see it in action in the following video.