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DLR-Biped – Could These Be Justin’s Legs?

Some exciting news out of DLR’s Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics; the developers of the wheeled humanoid robot platform Justin have got a new bipedal research platform simply called DLR-Biped walking in just 10 months!  It was designed to study biped locomotion for potential use in domestic service robots, which may need to climb stairs or step over small obstacles.  The system could be created in such short order partly because the upper legs are based on existing lightweight DLR arms, and dynamic simulations were performed using existing software (AIST’s OpenHRP3 and Simpack).  The lower leg is an entirely new design and has a foot measuring less than 10cm (4″) across, which is narrower than most robots of this size.

Like PETMAN and other biped prototypes it lacks a proper upper body, but is still rather tall given the legs are 90cm (3′) from hip to sole.  In total it measures approximately 143cm (4’8″) and weighs 50kg (110 lbs).  Besides six-axis force torque sensors in each foot, and an inertial measurement system in the trunk, the 6 joints in each leg are torque controlled.  The researchers say that this is a first for a biped robot and that it will allow them to implement compliant impedance control in the legs similar to Justin’s arms during manipulation tasks.

Meanwhile DLR has also designed a new hand-arm system composed of 52 actuators and more than 100 sensors for use in service and space robotics. Will it be combined with these legs?  Another possibility is to attach Justin’s upper body.  I’m very interested to see how this project shapes up.  Thankfully, we can tide ourselves over with a video of it in action from this June’s Automatica Fair.

Video:

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Thanks Krisztian!
[source: DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatonics (EN/DE)]