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• LOLA

Having previously developed a biped named JOHNNIE in 2001, the Technical University of Munich and the Institute of Technology Autonomous Systems (TAS) are developing its successor called LOLA.  The robot, which has been in development for six years, is capable of planning its own walking trajectory through a room in real-time using image data.  Due to the processing power required to perform image recognition, LOLA is connected via cables to three computers which handle this task.  At Hannover Messe 2010 (see press release and video after the break) LOLA was able to detect obstacles in its way, such as chairs or people, and modify its path accordingly.

LOLA stands 180cm (5’10″) tall, weighs 60kg (132 lbs), and has a total of 25 degrees of freedom (2 legs x7, 2 arms x3, waist x2, head x3).  While most humanoid robots have only 6 joints per leg, LOLA has an extra toe joint which reduces load and increases its step length and walking speed.  The robot’s mechanical structure was carefully designed for optimum strength and efficiency with light weight components.  To help maintain balance, it is equipped with gyro sensors in its upper body and 6-axis force sensors in its feet.

Joining a small, prestigious group of full-sized humanoid robots LOLA is capable of running (see also Honda’s ASIMO, KAIST’s HUBO 2, and Toyota’s Partner Robot).  Unfortunately this is a fairly new development and there doesn’t appear to be any video of it online at this time.  The researchers hope they’ll eventually be able to reach a speed of 5km/h, which is more in line with a human’s top walking speed.

[source: TUM Department of Applied Mechanics (DE)]

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Image credits:
Golem.de | Reinhard Karger