Another video update from Boston Dynamics. ATLAS walks on rocky terrain, and does an incredible job of keeping his balance when struck by a weighted object. This balance thing is going to be pretty critical as robots begin to integrate into society. Normally, if there is a moving machine, you put up warning signs, barricades, and guard rails, for safety. Historically, moving machinery and humans have not been a good mix. So as we begin to incorporate mechanical beings into our daily lives, as assistants, maids, helpers, chauffers, gardners, soldiers, etc, it will be important that they not fall over easily. A heavy machine falling on your toe is never good, even if it means well.
Cheetah Unplugged! (Meet “WildCat”)
Remember the DARPA/Boston Dynamics prototype “Cheetah,” that could run 28.3 mph? (Faster than any human alive.) They have taken it to the next step, equipping it with an onboard gasoline generator for power, and putting the computer and remote control circuitry on board as well. So first they build the machine, and they supply it […]
“Race Against the Machines”
“…The attitude has basically been, ‘when computers can replace human thinking and intuition, then we’ll worry about it.’ Well, according to Race Against The Machines, a new book by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, it’s time to worry.” Read more here
Group “Human Rights Watch” calls for ban of killer robots
Human Rights Watch sees that we are on the verge of robotic decisions to end human lives. (As discussed here , here, and here.) They are calling on an end to “killer robots” before we cross that threshold. “There are precursors both on the ground and in the air that are problematic and show the development of […]
Download and print your own robot
According to futurists, we will eventually all have 3D printers. A 3D printer prints drops of melted solid, like plastic or metal, waits for it to cool and harden, and repeats the process, until a complete three-dimensional object has been created. Eventually, if your printed flipflop breaks, for example, you just throw it into the […]
Remember the DARPA/Boston Dynamics prototype “Cheetah,” that could run 28.3 mph? (Faster than any human alive.) They have taken it to the next step, equipping it with an onboard gasoline generator for power, and putting the computer and remote control circuitry on board as well.
So first they build the machine, and they supply it with power and computer data via cables. Then they build the portable, wireless version that creates its own power and has an onboard computer. It is less sleek and less fast, because it has to carry a lot more weight. (WildCat can get up to 16 mph so far.) But this too is a prototype, and as anyone who has watched the evolution of BigDog can attest, future iterations of WildCat will be amazing. (Step 4: add titanium claws and teeth?) You can see the earlier model here.
Osaka University is developing a quadruped based on a cheetah, using pneumatics instead of servos to generate movement. in an effort to more closely approximate the mechanics of an actual cat.
“You can see the Pneupard’s hind legs walking on a treadmill in the video below. Rosendo notes that the researchers haven’t pre-programmed the muscles by hand; the muscles actually activate based on EMG signals recorded from a cat walking on a treadmill. The only sensors used by the robot are force sensors in each foot.”
As previously mentioned, we keep making robots more and more realistic, more human-like. Eventually, robots may be endowed with feelings and emotions. (Doesn’t seem smart to me, but it seems inevitable.) Given that, I think there should be some protections in place. Protection for the robots, which in a sense, would help preserve our own humanity.
… well it’s not really a robot, but I’m sure robotic versions will be made eventually, since it’s DARPA…
(Okay, I admit it, it was a slow day for robot news.)
This is HUBO, developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in 2005. HUBO is going to be participating in the DARPA Robotic Challenge.
“The Department of Defense’s strategic plan calls for the Joint Force to conduct humanitarian, disaster relief and related operations. The plan identifies requirements to extend aid to victims of natural or man-made disasters and conduct evacuation operations. Some disasters, however, due to grave risks to the health and wellbeing of rescue and aid workers, prove too great in scale or scope for timely and effective human response. The DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) will attempt to address this capability gap by promoting innovation in robotic technology for disaster-response operations. ”
Pretty articulate! (If the music in the video is not to your liking, just be glad I didn’t embed the one where he dances to Gangnam Style.)
DARPA’s PETMAN robot is good at walking and doing pushups, but their Pet-Proto model is learning to navigate difficult terrain, so that it can
chase down humans in a post-apocalyptic rescue humans in the event of natural or manmade disaster.
Pet-Proto’s developed form will be called Atlas, pictured below:
“ATLAS will walk like a human over rough terrain, crawling on its hands and knees when necessary and turning itself sideways to slip through any narrow passages it encounters.”