A robot that really walks

I just came across this, the PETMAN from Boston Dynamics (who also make Big Dog):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mclbVTIYG8E

It's tethered, but that's just for power and maybe to stop it being damaged if it falls. This is the first biped robot I've seen that doesn't rely on enormous feet to provide some passive stability. It's human-sized, with human-sized feet, apparently shod with human shoes. And it really walks, without the semi-crouching stance and painfully slow tottering of the Asimo and its like.

···

--
Richard Kennaway, jrk@cmp.uea.ac.uk, http://www.cmp.uea.ac.uk/~jrk/
School of Computing Sciences,
University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, U.K.

Does that mean they just used computers powerful enough to do inverse
kinematics for bipedalism?

I just googled ASIMO and Honda too, apparently made some progress
(looks like the presentation of the new ASIMO was today):

http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/08/hondas-asimo-robot-sheds-a-few-pounds-gets-all-autonomous-on-u/

[From Bill Powers (2011.11.08.0850 MDT)]

I just came across this, the PETMAN from Boston Dynamics (who also make Big Dog):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mclbVTIYG8E

It's tethered, but that's just for power and maybe to stop it being damaged if it falls. This is the first biped robot I've seen that doesn't rely on enormous feet to provide some passive stability. It's human-sized, with human-sized feet, apparently shod with human shoes. And it really walks, without the semi-crouching stance and painfully slow tottering of the Asimo and its like.

The Boston Dynamics robot is more like it! I can see the continuous control without the pauses for computing which even the new Asimo that Adam referred to demonstrates. The real key was the response to the sudden shove on the robot to which it reacted instantly and correctly by moving its next step sideways to generate an opposing lean, just as our inverted pendulum does when a sudden force is applied to it. We didn't see how Asimo would react to a vigorous unexpected disturbance -- from the descripion of how it works, it would just fall over.

By the way, don't you think Asimo is a reference to Asimov?

Boston Dynamics is Marc Raibert's company. He wrote "Legged robots that balance," MIT Press, 1986, about some robots he designed at MIT including a one-legged one that balanced by hopping around like a pogo stick, and some four-legged ones that moved the same way by bouncing. In fact all his first robots bounced around, and I seem to remember that I wrote to him asking if he had tried making some that just walked, telling him a little about PCT. No reply that I remember, though. He was also trying to sell some animations for commercials, and all the cute little people also bounced instead of walking. He had sort of a one-track mind back then, I guess. But this new robot clearly uses principles of continuous feedback control as in PCT. Somebody perhaps should write to him.

Best,

Bill P.

···

At 02:31 PM 11/8/2011 +0000, Richard Kennaway wrote:

[From Richard Kennaway (2011.11.08.1629 GMT)]

  [From Bill Powers (2011.11.08.0850 MDT)]

The Boston Dynamics robot is more like it! I can see the continuous
control without the pauses for computing which even the new Asimo
that Adam referred to demonstrates. The real key was the response to
the sudden shove on the robot to which it reacted instantly and
correctly by moving its next step sideways to generate an opposing
lean, just as our inverted pendulum does when a sudden force is
applied to it. We didn't see how Asimo would react to a vigorous
unexpected disturbance -- from the descripion of how it works, it
would just fall over.

By the way, don't you think Asimo is a reference to Asimov?

It must be.

Shortly after the PETMAN video came out (which was just last October), Honda put out a new Asimo video:

http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/08/hondas-asimo-robot-sheds-a-few-pounds-gets-all-autonomous-on-u/

Asimo has certainly improved, but I think PETMAN still wins hands down. So do the people on this anime and games forum:

http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2011/11/08/asimo-vs-petman-japanese-robots-are-a-joke/

···

--
Richard Kennaway, jrk@cmp.uea.ac.uk, http://www.cmp.uea.ac.uk/~jrk/
School of Computing Sciences,
University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, U.K.

[From Bruce Abbott (2009.11.09.1500 EST)]

Bill Powers (2011.11.08.0850 MDT) –

Boston Dynamics is Marc Raibert’s company. He wrote "Legged robots

that balance," MIT Press, 1986, about some robots he designed at MIT

including a one-legged one that balanced by hopping around like a

pogo stick, and some four-legged ones that moved the same way by

bouncing. In fact all his first robots bounced around, and I seem to

remember that I wrote to him asking if he had tried making some that

just walked, telling him a little about PCT. No reply that I

remember, though. He was also trying to sell some animations for

commercials, and all the cute little people also bounced instead of

walking. He had sort of a one-track mind back then, I guess. But this

new robot clearly uses principles of continuous feedback control as

in PCT. Somebody perhaps should write to him.

Marc Raibert gave a lecture at Stanford about the “BigDog” robot in which he provides a lot of nice details about its construction and operation. You can watch the lecture at

http://www.botjunkie.com/2010/08/30/marc-raibert-on-the-future-of-bigdog/

There is a short period early on where sound is lost, but it does get restored and the rest of the lecture is worth watching. Be prepared to spend a bit of time, however: the video is about an hour and 19 minutes long.

Also, the Boston Dynamics site includes a link to simulation software that can implement crowds of autonomous, “intelligent” agents. I suppose this is an outgrowth of the animations you mentioned. The link is

http://www.bostondynamics.com/bd_diguy.html

Bruce A.

[From Rick Marken (2011.11.09.0900)]

···

On Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 6:31 AM, Richard Kennaway <jrk@cmp.uea.ac.uk> wrote:

I just came across this, the PETMAN from Boston Dynamics (who also make Big
Dog):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mclbVTIYG8E

This sure looks realistic, doesn't it. Great find.

Best

Rick
--
Richard S. Marken PhD
rsmarken@gmail.com
www.mindreadings.com

Check these guys out, fresh from Aldebaran Robotics:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNbj2G3GmAo

Looks like a real person when falling down. :smiley:

[From Bill Powers (2011.12.11.-820 MST)]

Hi, Adam Matic--

Yeah, that's the NAO robot I was posting about. Notice in the side panel, the first video listed there is about teaching the robot to repeat the movements that will keep a spoon level while transferring sugar from a bowl to the coffee. This whole video is a clear illustration of what is wrong with this way of thinking about behavior. In the main YouTube presentation, when the robot gets up after falling down, it's clearly just rerunning movements it has been programmed to make -- "getting-up" movements.

Best,

Bill P.

That’s the same one you were talking about? I was looking for other humanoid robots and there is a whole bunch of them, some have gyros, accelerometers, joint angle sensors and cameras. Some of them aren’t as expensive as the NAO: http://www.robotadvice.com/humanoid-robot-kits.html

It looks like every behavior is just preprogramed. It would be really interesting to tamper with their code :smiley:

Best

Adam

···

On Sun, Dec 11, 2011 at 4:21 PM, Bill Powers powers_w@frontier.net wrote:

[From Bill Powers (2011.12.11.-820 MST)]

Hi, Adam Matic–

Yeah, that’s the NAO robot I was posting about. Notice in the side panel, the first video listed there is about teaching the robot to repeat the movements that will keep a spoon level while transferring sugar from a bowl to the coffee. This whole video is a clear illustration of what is wrong with this way of thinking about behavior. In the main YouTube presentation, when the robot gets up after falling down, it’s clearly just rerunning movements it has been programmed to make – “getting-up” movements.

Best,

Bill P.

What a wonderful find, Adam. I’ve been checking out the servo motor
designs, and the one most of the robots use is just what we need. Here is
the robot that looks best right now:


http://www.robotadvice.com/hitec-robonova-1_robot.html

Scroll down to see links for getting the manual, Here’s a link to the
manual for programming.


http://www.robonova.de/store/down/download/files/roboBASIC

It looks as if we can get control of everything right down to the
intensity level (though they don’t call it that!). In kit form, it looks
as though the cost is about $1000, which is within reach. It assembles
with just a screwdriver, though they predict 6 hours will be needed.
Program is a version of Basic, very easy to use. Works with a
PC.

I’ll check it out further, but this one looks good.

Bill

···

At 06:30 PM 12/11/2011 +0100, Adam Matic wrote:

That’s the same one you were
talking about? I was looking for other humanoid robots and there is
a whole bunch of them, some have gyros, accelerometers, joint angle
sensors and cameras. Some of them aren’t as expensive as the NAO:

http://www.robotadvice.com/humanoid-robot-kits.html

It looks like every behavior is just preprogramed. It would be really
interesting to tamper with their code :smiley: