Dr. M. Anthony Lewis, Director of the Robotics and Neural Systems Lab at the University of Arizona, and Theresa J. Klein (PhD student) have been working on a biarticulate muscle leg model. In a paper published in 2008 (available at the lab’s website), they describe how motors pulled on stiff, tendon-like Kevlar straps to reproduce the action of key muscle groups.
Their new biped robot features an improved leg design that models even more muscles. And it’s already walking (though it relies on a babywalker-like support for balance). It stands 55 cm (22″) tall with the legs fully extended and weighs approximately 4.5 kg (10 lbs).
The Korean Institute of Industrial Technology’s (KITECH) Robotics Fusion Research Group has unveiled the fourth generation in its line of gynoids, known as EveR-4, at the robotics pavilion of Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea. Dr. Dong-Wook Lee (39) and a colleague have been developing the female androids since 2005, and suggests this version is capable of more realistic expressions thanks to a new artificial tongue.
EveR-4 stands 180 cm (5’11”) tall and was designed to look like a receptionist to give speeches and interact with people. It attempts to replicate the complex assortment of muscles in the human head with no less than 30 motors, which Dr. Lee says is a world record. He admits that there isn’t much demand for androids at the moment, but said that could change in the future as theme parks around the world adopt Disney’s automated approach.
The gynoid may also find work as a theater “actress” through synchronized voice performance, facial expressions, lip synch, and body gestures. Previous models (and those built in Japan) are used to study not only human-robot interaction but the convergence of technology and the arts and humanities. However, like most other androids it cannot stand up or walk under its own power, and its spoken lines would likely be performed by a human because artificial speech still leaves something to be desired. Currently, only the HRP-4C developed by AIST uses Vocaloid software to produce a synthesized singing voice.
A small selection of photos follows after the break.
[sources: Hankyung, Daum (KR)]
The China (Shanghai) International Robot Exhibition 2012 (CIROS 2012) got underway yesterday, and some photos from the event have been trickling onto the web. Although most of the robots on the 20,000 square meter show floor are industrial in nature, there are a few human-friendly examples on display. Guangzhou CNC Equipment Co., Ltd. (GSK)’s industrial robot arm, for example, can be seen drawing pictures of Pandas. The so-called civilian area of the expo is proving much more popular thanks to robots like Aldebaran Robotics’ NAO, MiniRobot’s Metal Fighter hobby kits, a Mars rover by Shanghai Jiaotong University, and Grandar Robotics’ Home Education Robot (photo below).
Unis is showing off the ILU-ROBO, the PaPeRo rip-off, which reacts differently depending on where you touch it thanks to eight sensors. If you pat it hard on the head the robot pleads, “Don’t bully me!” and when touched elsewhere it explains matter-of-factly, “No need to scratch my itch”.
The robot (which is available in many bright colors) is intended for children 12 and younger and has a variety of functions including singing, dancing, storytelling, and English lessons. According to the company the robot has sold approximately 10,000 units since it went on sale last year and is relatively cheap (at only 3,000 yuan [$475 USD]) thanks to the scale of its production. It also helps that NEC did the design work and paid for the molds…
An interactive fighting game between human & robot
RT Corporation showcased a taller version of their tablet-powered “Robot Inside Character” at Google I/O 2012. The RIC Ninja Master stands 120 cm (or 3 ft 11 inches, including tablet), which is 30 cm (about 1 foot) taller than the company’s flagship model, the RIC-90. Visitors to the interactive demo booth can play a fighting game with the full-sized robot, which is a world first according to the company.
Two people control the robot: one for the arms using an Xtion Pro Live motion sensor, and another makes the robot walk using a game controller. The Android-based tablet (which serves as the robot’s head and face) uses the RT-ADK (a general I/O board specialized for Android OS) and V-sido software to translate the players’ commands into actual movements.
A sensor on the robot’s body determines when it has taken a hit, and it wears padded gloves to avoid hurting people. Perhaps the gloves contain a sensor to detect when it has scored a hit, but I doubt it is agile enough to hit you if it is as slow as earlier models. And RT Corp has published a video of its demonstration so we can see how it really works.
I’m guessing the human participants went a little easy on it, because it looks like it wouldn’t take much to knock it over in one punch…
[source: RT-net (EN)] via [MyNavi (JP)]