Will this Robot Survive Being Pummeled by Dodgeballs?

How did the ATRIAS robot fare against the dodgeballs? Watch the video to find out.

Well, here’s something you don’t see everyday. Students at Oregon State University’s (OSU) Dynamic Robotics Laboratory wanted to see if its ATRIAS robot could withstand being bombarded by dodgeballs.

An OSU student sent the video to IEEE Spectrum, saying they “had a particularly fun time making” the video. How could you not? Pummeling anything with dodgeballs is fun, no?

So how did ATRIAS fare? I don’t want to spoil anything, so you’ll have to watch the video below.

ATRIAS is a human-sized two-legged (bi-pedal) robot designed for researching the science of walking and running. The robot will be competing in the DARPA Robotics Challenge, June 5-6, 2015, at Fairplex in Pomona, Calif.

Here’s more on ATRIAS from the Dynamic Robotics Laboratory website:

ATRIAS is a prototype of the next generation of these disaster-response machines. The robot will showcase its own talents at the DARPA Robotics Challenge: walking and running with agility and efficiency. ATRIAS can get off the ground and jog like a human. ATRIAS also consumes only a small fraction of the power of other bipeds, allowing for much longer battery life.

This ability to maneuver quickly and efficiently is ATRIAS’ primary goal, which shapes its unusual mechanical design. Robots don’t typically have such spindly legs, such tiny feet, or big springs attached to their motors. But those springs absorb and recycle energy that would be ordinarily lost with every step. The lightweight shins and thighs reduce shock loads when its legs swing and hit the ground. Like a high-end sports car, all of ATRIAS’ mechanisms are designed and tuned to cooperate with each other and enable maximum performance.

But also like a fast car, ATRIAS is hard to drive. The mathematics commonly used to control robotic walking just doesn’t work for ATRIAS. This means that researchers at the Dynamic Robotics Laboratory, in collaboration with Dr. Hartmut Geyer’s laboratory at Carnegie Mellon, have been constantly inventing their own controllers to make ATRIAS go. Their goal: make ATRIAS walk, maneuver over obstacles, and run on the open outdoor stage.

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
Contact Steve Crowe: scrowe@ehpub.com  ·  View More by Steve Crowe.


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