RHex

RHex

RHex is a six-legged robot with inherently high mobility. RHex is a creation of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania who hope it could one day climb rubble in emergency rescue situations or zoom across scorching desert sands with its six whirling, springy legs.

“What we want is a robot that can go anywhere, even over terrain that might be broken and uneven,” said graduate student Aaron Johnson, one of those researchers. “These latest jumps greatly expand the range of what this machine is capable of, as it can now jump onto or across obstacles that are bigger than it is.”

rhex1
Rhex weighs in at 27.5lbs, without batteries of course, and comes in at a dimension of 22”L x 16”W x 5.2”H when his legs are not extended. The operator can control RHex using an IP Radio with a 400-700m range, and carries fore and aft cameras and illuminators: driving resolution of 320x240px, still image of 1280x960px and an illuminator with adjustments of 6W visible and 6W infrared. RHex even provides the operator with live video feed for remote operations. – See more at: http://ipkonfig.com/boston-dynamic-the-rhex-rough-terrain-robot-with-a-tail#sthash.dg8zmXul.dpuf

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Capabilities:
– The use of legs instead of wheels or tracks opens the way for a large number of behaviors,
– Passive compliance in the legs overcomes limitations of underactuation and helps simplify mechanical design, yielding robustness,
– Sprawled posture, inspired from insects, results in passive stabilization of lateral motion,
– Control is open-loop at the gait level, but closed loop at the task level. Stability comes as a result of passive mechanics, not high-bandwidth active control,

On robots, legs are more effective than wheels when it comes to rough terrain. But it can be complicated to teach the human-like legs on walking robots how to respond to unpredictable conditions.

In the video showing off an impressive vertical leap, doing several back flips and propelling itself up steps.

~Olga

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