AI News, HyQ Quadruped Robot From Italy Can Trot, Kick

HyQ Quadruped Robot From Italy Can Trot, Kick

The machine, built by a team led by Professor Darwin Caldwell, is a hydraulic quadruped (hy-q, get it?) designed to perform highly dynamic tasks such as running and jumping.

Legged locomotion remains one of the biggest challenges in robotics, and the Italian team hopes that their robot can become a platform for research and collaboration among different groups -- a kind of open source BigDog.

'BigDog is a black box -- nobody knows exactly what designs, materials, controllers they are using,' Claudio Semini, a researcher responsible for HyQ's hardware and a founding member of the project, told me when we met at the IEEEInternational Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in San Francisco last month.

This capability allows the robot to run and jump, as well as negotiate rough terrain, its actuators absorbing shocks and vibrations without damage to the body.

To achieve the required high joint speeds and torques, HyQ uses two hydraulic cylinders and one electric motor on each leg, which are built with aerospace-grade aluminum alloy and stainless steel.

Its control system, which has a detailed model of the robot's body, uses inverse dynamics to calculate what torque it needs to apply to each joint.

The researchers are currently testing HyQ on a special treadmill at their lab, making the robot walk, trot, and jump while attached to the hydraulic tether and a safety harness.