AI News, GOAT Robot Leg Demonstrates Explosive Jumping

GOAT Robot Leg Demonstrates Explosive Jumping

At Carnegie Mellon University, Simon Kalouche just wrapped up his mastersthesis in which he describes the development of a brand new design for “legs capable of dexterous walking, running, and most significantly, explosive omni-directional jumping and actively compliant landing.” That’s the kind of thing we like to hear.

Kalouche has developed the GOAT leg, which is obviously an abbreviation for “Gearless Omni-directional Acceleration-vectoring Topology.” The design of the leg has very little to do with the physical structure of a goat’s leg, but Kalouche was directly inspired by mountain goats, which display nearly supernatural locomotion on sheer cliffs.

In these environments using high bandwidth virtual compliance, made possible by low impedance actuators, will allow the robot’s legs to actively conform to the terrain producing a more efficient and swift mode of locomotion as compared to a statically stable crawling gait which requires accurate terrain mapping and explicit foot step planning.

It’s tempting to compare the GOAT leg to other designs, such as those ofMIT’s Cheetah, a quadruped also powered by electric motors (other state-of-the-art legged robots mentioned by Kalouche in his thesis are shown above).Doing so is like comparing an actual goat to an actual cheetah: the goat’s not going to win any races, but it’ll at least be competitive, while the cheetah would likely be utterly hopeless at negotiating the kind of terrain that a goat calls home.

Kalouche summarizes: While the GOAT leg will most likely never be faster than the very impressive speeds achieved by the MIT Cheetah in running along a straight line, the design of GOAT sacrifices 1D top speed for the potential to run and jump in all 3 dimensions with more agility than the MIT Cheetah and all other dynamic legged robots to this date.

GOAT legs will let future robots handle rough terrain with ease

A Master’s Thesis by CMU’sSimon Kalouche posits a new form of robotic leg, one designed for maximum range of motion and, more importantly, an easily control method for force reduction.

The GOAT system allows for each leg to move dynamically – if it splats down hard the entire leg will take the brunt of the fall and if it needs to move sideways or on a sheer cliff face like a goat it can modify its legs accordingly.

Is the GOAT robot leg truly the Greatest Of All Time?

As humans continue to unwittingly engineer robots that will eventually lead to our downfall as the dominant lifeforms on Earth, we’ve built a wide variety of robots that can run, climb, and swim.

It does this by using a tripodal leg that’s capable of shifting in all directions, instead of just moving forward and backward (like other robotic legs do), making it much easier for a robot with GOAT legs to traverse rough terrain and change direction quickly.

Kalouche notes that there are faster robotic leg systems out there, like the one utilized by MIT’s Cheetah robot, but the Cheetah requires relatively level ground, unlike a theoretical GOAT robot, which would likely be able to navigate a much wider range of terrain.

Kalouche hopes to be able to integrate external electronic and power components into the leg itself, and from there, eventually utilize his GOAT leg design in a wide variety of robots, from single legged monopods to bipedal and quadrupedal robots.

'GOAT' robot leg traverses difficult terrain like the animal it's named after

As robots move out of research laboratories and into the real world, it’s important that they have the ability to maneuver over ground that maybe that isn’t quite as smooth and easy to navigate as your typical research and development lab floor.

“The name GOAT stands for gearless, omni-directional, acceleration-vectoring, topology, and also pays tribute to the mountain goat who is capable of amazing jumping behaviors to traverse sheer cliffs and was an original inspiration for my work,” Kalouche told Digital Trends.

“To be able to traverse a large set of terrains, legged robots offer enhanced mobility as opposed to wheeled [or] tracked machines, but legged machines require both statically stable locomotion as well as highly dynamic jumping [and] running behaviors to traverse such a wide set of structured and unstructured landscapes.” GOAT, it seems, ticks all the right boxes.

Introducing GOAT: A Legged Robot with 3D Agility & Virtual Compliance

I present GOAT, the Gearless Omni-directional Acceleration-vectoring Topology. This video shows preliminary experiments of the GOAT leg on a 1-DoF test-rig demonstrating explosive jumping maneuvers...

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Source: Howie Choset, Simon Kalouche, Biorobotics Laboratory, CMU