Tag: Boston Dynamics

MIT cheetah robot lands the running jump

Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office
May 29, 2015

In a leap for robot development, the MIT researchers who built a robotic cheetah have now trained it to see and jump over hurdles as it runs — making this the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously.

To get a running jump, the robot plans out its path, much like a human runner: As it detects an approaching obstacle, it estimates that object’s height and distance. The robot gauges the best position from which to jump, and adjusts its stride to land just short of the obstacle, before exerting enough force to push up and over. Based on the obstacle’s height, the robot then applies a certain amount of force to land safely, before resuming its initial pace.

In experiments on a treadmill and an indoor track, the cheetah robot successfully cleared obstacles up to 18 inches tall — more than half of the robot’s own height — while maintaining an average running speed of 5 miles per hour.

“A running jump is a truly dynamic behavior,” says Sangbae Kim, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. “You have to manage balance and energy, and be able to handle impact after landing. Our robot is specifically designed for those highly dynamic behaviors.”

Kim and his colleagues — including research scientist Hae won Park and postdoc Patrick Wensing — will demonstrate their cheetah’s running jump at the DARPA Robotics Challenge in June, and will present a paper detailing the autonomous system in July at the conference Robotics: Science and Systems.

Once the robot has detected an obstacle, the second component of the algorithm kicks in, allowing the robot to adjust its approach while nearing the obstacle. Based on the obstacle’s distance, the algorithm predicts the best position from which to jump in order to safely clear it, then backtracks from there to space out the robot’s remaining strides, speeding up or slowing down in order to reach the optimal jumping-off point.

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Atlas is a bipedal humanoid robot by the American robotics

Atlas is a bipedal humanoid robot by the American robotics

Atlas is a bipedal humanoid robot by the American robotics

Atlas is a bipedal humanoid robot primarily developed by the American robotics company Boston Dynamics, with funding and oversight from the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The 1.8-meter (6 ft) robot is designed for a variety of search and rescue tasks, and was unveiled to the public on July 11, 2013.

Picture by Atlas from boston dynamics.jpg

The design and production of Atlas was overseen by the DARPA, an agency of the United States Department of Defense, in cooperation with Boston Dynamics. One of the robot’s hands was developed by Sandia National Laboratories, while the other was developed by iRobot. In 2013, DARPA program manager Gill Pratt compared the prototype version of Atlas to a small child, saying that “a 1-year-old child can barely walk, a 1-year-old child falls down a lot … this is where we are right now.”

In 2014, Atlas robots programmed by six different teams competed in the DARPA Robotics Challenge to test the robot’s ability to perform various tasks, including getting in and out of a vehicle and driving it, opening a door, and using a power tool. A variety of other robots also competed. The contest was inspired by the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, and carries a USD 2 million prize for the winning team.

Boston Dynamics development robot

In the 2015 DARPA robotics finals Atlas from IHMC Robotics (named Running Man) came second behind the Korean team Kaist and their robot DRC-Hubo by a margin of six minutes, completing the entire course in a time of 50:26

On November 16, 2017, Boston Dynamics released an update video of the Atlas robot to Youtube. In this video Atlas was shown jumping on boxes, turning 180 degrees while jumping and performing a backflip.

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