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 Who can find the fish that makes the best sound?
28.02.2017 | Technische Universität Wien

nachricht Many Android password managers unsafe
28.02.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Sichere Informationstechnologie SIT

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology offers fast peptide synthesis

28.02.2017 | Life Sciences

WSU research advances energy savings for oil, gas industries

28.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Who can find the fish that makes the best sound?

28.02.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>