New Cutting Edge Robot Tech For University Robotics Lab.
There are some companies that are making some of the cool advances in robotics. Funding is coming not just from defense department spending research but from companies working to develop commercial products. On of these companies in Agility Robotics who I am sure you will be hearing more about.
Engineering students interested in careers in robot development are choosing universities and colleges that have access to the latest cutting edge robots to work with. The University of Michigan’s robotics lab has just taken possession of a brand new robot from Agility Robotics. It is named Cassie and it sports multiple motors and at least two on board computers.
The University of Michigan has a very special outdoor test bed that it is using to push the envelope of robotic balance and agility. The U of M robotics lab is focused not on hardware design but development of the mathematics needed to allow this human level of agility. Here is the “un-boxing ” of Cassie.
Michigan Robotics’ latest member arrived in a black plastic case about two feet to a side, buried beneath a layer of foam cubes and crouched on a metal calibration stand. The latest model, dubbed Cassie Blue by the Michigan team, has control over two more joints in each leg with motors for hip rotation and at the ankle for extra stability. Not only do these give Cassie the potential to be better at the independent walking pioneered by its predecessor, MARLO, but it opens a host of new possibilities.
Jessy Grizzle, the director of Michigan Robotics and the Elmer G. Gilbert Distinguished University Professor of Engineering, is especially interested in mounting a camera on Cassie and incorporating fast image processing on its extra chip, enabling the robot to use video to identify large changes in terrain visually.
Robot test track – The Wave Field.
This, Grizzle says, will prepare Cassie for Michigan’s “robot torture track” – the art installation known as the Wave Field. The field of three-foot earthen mounds totally destroyed one of MARLO’s knees last summer when the robot stepped blindly from the top of one hillock into the ditch.
“You’ve seen kids running freely over the Wave Field?” Grizzle asked.
That’s what this robot should be able to do.
The advances made in the balance and agility of these robots can be thought more like human motor control. We are not conscious of all the calculation and adjustments needed as we walk around the block. This is handled by our subconsciousness so it is the same for robots. The intelligence of the future robots is being developed from cutting edge artificial intelligence science.