For a robot trying to get a metal toehold into modern times, there’s no room for ones that fall all over the place like an alcoholic on broken roller skates. A sense of balance and a reliable set of limbs are what the bots of the future need. I mean, for the ones that aren’t just washing dishes and keeping you company. But maybe for future RobOlympic events.
The Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) is among the first teams on the planet to create a robot with such realistic arm and leg joints, calling it COMAN (COmplant huMANoid). The robot has 25 degrees of freedom, in most of the areas humans do: the neck, shoulders, elbows, etc. The more flexible joints use a series elastic actuators custom designed by IIT, which allow for realistic flexing and extending of the limbs. The feet include a six-axis force/torque sensor that gives it the ultimate advantage of being able to keep its balance no matter where the pressure comes from. I’m assuming if the thing got hit by a rhino it would tumble, but as far as light pushes from humans and ramped walkways, COMAN has got most other robots beat. Check out the device in action below, and place your bets on when IIT will invent the Bully Bot to promote “real dink-shoving action.”
COMAN was modeled after a four-year-old child, standing just over three feet tall and weighing around 68 pounds. No word on whether they programmed it to think girls are icky or not. The IIT team has apparently finished a set of hands to go on those nubs, and a head is also on the way. I see headbanging robots in the future. As long as they’re humans and not freaky-ass snake creatures, I think we’ll all be okay. For now.