The DARPA Robot’s name is the PETMAN Robot and was developed by Boston Dynamics. The robot is now being adapted for use by the DARPA Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) and Robotics Challenge Programs. The video released by DARPAtv reveals the how the robot masters stairs, walks on a treadmill and does pushups.
You can see how massive and heavy the robot is right before it stomps up the wooden platform stairs to the top. An operator stands behind the robot gripped tightly onto metal pipes behind the robot to stabilize it before it’s accent up the stairs. An eery blue glow from the torso of the robot glows before the stair walking.
One thing that you would miss about the PETMAN Robot made for DARPA before it goes up the stairs is that it is stabilizing itself with an active arm that uses a side wall to hold itself as it walks up the flight up stairs. You can clearly hear a fairly mechanical sound with the clunk of the legs and the arm pushing against the wall next to the stairs as the robot also balances itself to stand upright on the platform and continues to walk.
Another thing that is interesting is the cable that extends from an operator that is slowly slacked up in tension as the robot moves through the obstacle course. PETMAN seems to be controlled somewhat by this movement and kept at a specific pace. Multiple angles from the Boston Dynamics group provides an amazing glimpse of the powerful robot.
The next instance you will see the PETMAN robot is on a treadmill walking while he’s swinging his arms. One of the operators gives PETMAN a pretty violent push to the side. The robot jolts to the side, catching it’s balance and reestablishing its forward movement walking along on the treadmill with a flashing red light for a head.
The next feat pulled off by PETMAN is a low crouch as he twists his body to the side as if he’s looking at something on the wall, standing back up and twisting the other direction. The robot then just stand straight up and tall and stands there.
PETMAN now moves into a military stance push up with his arms, or his poles with pads in squared up position and his feet spread apart. The robot seems to be wearing sometime of work boot or military boot in his pushup stance. While the PETMAN robot does his pushup you can see it’s not exactly a fluid movement but shaky and full of jerks back and forth. A type of pack is on his back while he does the full push ups. Then it’s back to PETMAN doing a full and quick stride on the treadmill. DARPA provides a pretty good description of all these events which we’ll include below.
DARPA Robot Masters Stairs
This video shows versions of DARPA and Boston Dynamics robots climbing stairs, walking on a treadmill and doing pushups.
A modified platform resembling these robots is expected to be used as government-funded equipment (GFE) for performers in Tracks B and C of the DARPA Robotics Challenge (http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2012/04/10.aspx). The GFE Platform is expected to have two arms, two legs, a torso and a head, and will be physically capable of performing all of the tasks required for the disaster response scenarios scheduled in the Challenge. However, despite the appearance of the robots in the video, the Challenge is decidedly not exclusive to humanoid robot solutions. Any designs are welcome provided they are compatible with shared human-robot environments, compatible with human tools, and compatible with human operators so that a human without expertise in robotics can give commands and confidently anticipate the response.
It is DARPA’s position that achieving true innovation in robotics, and thus success in the Robotics Challenge, will require contributions from communities beyond traditional robotics developers. Hardware, software, modeling and gaming developers are sought to link with emergency response and various science communities to devise novel solutions that enable robots to respond to disasters according to the tasks laid out in DARPA’s announcement (http://go.usa.gov/mVj) for the Challenge.
More popular videos showing DARPA’s robotic technology for humanoid robots and representations of animal robots as well.
DARPA Cheetah Sets Speed Record for Legged Robots
DARPA’s Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program is developing software to perform human-level tasks quickly and with minimal direction.
This video shows the ARM robot performing 18 grasping and manipulation tasks using vision, force, and tactile sensing with full autonomy — no active human control. The DARPA-supplied robot was built using commercial components that include an arm, hand, neck, and head sensors.
During rigorous testing in November 2011, the best team achieved 93% success in grasping modeled and unmodeled objects. The ARM program has entered its second phase, where focus turns to complex bimanual manipulation scenarios
DARPA Legged Squad Support System (LS3)
Today’s dismounted warfighter can be saddled with more than 100 pounds of gear, resulting in physical strain, fatigue, and degraded performance. To help alleviate the impact of excess weight on troops, DARPA is developing a highly mobile, semi-autonomous four-legged robot, the Legged Squad Support System (LS3). LS3 includes onboard sensors to perceive obstacles in its environment and path-planning capabilities to avoid them. The LS3 platform is designed with the squad in mind and is therefore significantly quieter, faster and has a much higher carrying capacity for longer mission durations than DARPA’s earlier mobility technology demonstrator BigDog. The LS3 prototype recently completed its first outdoor assessment, demonstrating mobility by climbing and descending a hill and exercising its perception and autonomous follow-the-leader capabilities.
DARPA Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) program
In 2005, DARPA announced the Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) program and its goal to develop agile and flyers system that could fit in one hand. This video chronicles the development of a “hummingbird” flyer by Aerovironment from concept to prototype demonstration and introduction to the public. A number of difficult design and engineering challenges were overcome in the course of the program, particularly in the wing structure, propulsion and control actuators. Numerous complete prototypes were built and tested to assess and improve the performance of the systems shown in the video. The final prototype achieves the noteworthy milestone of 2-wing flapping hovering and fast forward flight with all power sources on the aircraft and all controls implemented through modulation of the wing strokes in a shape that resembles a real hummingbird and carries and on-board camera that relays video to the pilot in real time. For more information, please visit http://www.darpa.mil/Our_Work/DSO/Programs/Nano_Air_Vehicle_(NAV).aspx
BigDog Evolution by Boston Dynamics
Three generations of BigDog, including robot pup and recent highlights. 2004-2010.