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 Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified
05.12.2016 | University of Sussex

nachricht UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas
29.11.2016 | University of Tennessee at Knoxville

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>