Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Coaching Computer Canines in Clambering

09.07.2007
Stefan Schaal is trying to build the top dog in a DARPA four-legged robot race

The mutts are metal, the size of toy poodles, with four pointy feet ending in little balls. They need to learn how to make their way on those little feet across a treacherous terrain of broken rocks. University of Southern California roboticist Stefan Schaal has just won renewal of a $1.5 million DARPA contract to train them to do so.

Schaal, an associate professor in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering department of computer science, began working on the problem more than a year ago.

Four- and six-legged robots have been walking around for years, he noted — but most just on smooth surfaces where wheels are a more efficient of getting around.

"What you really want legged robots for is to negotiate difficult terrain," he says. " This project is designed to push that envelop."

Boston Dynamics builds the 'bots, which come with an onboard computer chip connected to sensors.

The robot is continually aware of the location of its center of gravity.The strategy for walking, as explained in a paper Schaal presented at the 2007 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, was "to adjust a smooth walking pattern generator with the selection of every foot placement such that the center of gravity … follows a stable trajectory."

To do this, the robot calculates where and how it should proceed, "based on the current position, velocity, and acceleration" of its legs. If one effort fails, the dog learns from its mistakes and tries another route the next time.

After 15 months of experimentation — sending back mechanical dog bodies at a rate of about one per month, but saving each one’s digital electronic experience — Schaal's dogs can now move, but not very fast: traveling at 1.6 centimeters a second, a little faster than the old 1.2 cm/sec of the old Mars Sojourner robot.

The goal in the next phase of the study is to triple the speed and double the difficulty of the terrain - have the dogs not just traverse rocky ground, but climb rocky ground with a sharp slope.

If that can be achieved, he says, the programming will move over into bigger mechanical dogs.

Schaal is competing with five other labs at universities and R&D centers around the country. For the first part of the study, Schaal’s former graduate student Dimitris Pongas (CS Ph.D. 07) made significant contributions.

What about making them bark? "Once they can run, I’ll bark for them,” Schaal says.

Eric Mankin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usc.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Smart Computers
21.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device
18.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>