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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Robots on the move

Walking robots and robot chairs are the technical challenge for robotics scientist especially in Japan and Korea. The walking chair competition between Japan and Korea started att the Expo 2005 when Toyota presented iFoot - a large exoskeleton designed for a single human of max 60 kg. This exoskeleton can climb stairs and is intended for the elderly and those with disabilities. ifoot uses a birdlike leg joint so it can bend down for the user to get in and out. It walks at the speed of 1.35 km/h (0.83 miles/hr).

The korean HUBO Lab has developed HUBO-FX1 a human-riding robot having wiht 12 DOF (degrees of freedom). The development concept is that the robot can walk naturally with carrying a person or a load of 100 kg, so the lower body takes after legs of human and the upper body takes after a chair. A person who sits on the upper body can control the robot naturally using the built-on joystick installed. It has many kinds of sensors. Each ankle has the 3-axis force/torque sensor which measures a normal force and 2 moments. Each foot has the inclination sensor which measures angle of the slope. Also the rate gyro and the inclination sensor of the body can do a stabilization of itself. HUBO-FX1 is 2m in height and 150kg in weight. It is possible to perform forward walking, backward walking, side walking and turning around. Video

South Korean scientists are now trying to develop a walking android with legs like a human. Att the Korean Institute of Industrial Technology, KITEC, researchers have developed EveR-2MUSE , the worlds first singing android designed to look like a young Korean woman. The robot has motor functions, enabling her to walk, stand up and sit down. Her predecessor, EveR-1, was stationary and couldn’t move. Also, EveR-2 is larger than EveR-1 - 165 centimeters and 60 kilograms versus 160 centimeters and 55 kilograms.

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