control by the operators.
The total length of the whole assembly is
11. 3 meters and it has a reach of 9. 7 meters.
Weighing in at 630 kg, it can handle payloads
up to 8,000 kg. There are no plans at present
to have it operate on a mobile transporter
system that could place it in all locations of the
and one elbow joint. Both of the end effectors can function
either as a gripper or an attached joint for a base. The end
effectors have high resolution cameras attached for video
Europe is not just about building expensive
robot vacuum cleaners, world-class industrial
robots, and space-borne rovers. The European
Union has funded robotic rovers to delve into
the depths of erupting Mount Etna in Italy.
EURON, the European Robotics Network has
interconnected the robotics labs across the
many European nations to foster transfer of
technology and cooperation amongst the many
universities and industrial labs. This cooperation
was instrumental in the development of the iDroid, a fully-functioning humanoid robot that consumers could build for
themselves. One of the most interesting humanoid robots
that I saw in my research for this article was the bipedal
The Robotics and Multibody Mechanics Research
Group of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at
the Vrije Universiteit, Brussels, Belgium (VUB) started
research on computer-aided analysis of rigid and flexible
mechanical systems back in 1990 and the evolution of
this research culminated in the creation of LUCY. Now,
we know of many bipedal robots developed around the
world, but few — if any — use the unique pneumatic
muscles shown in Figure 12.
Lucy is a lightweight anthropomorphic biped at 30 kg
and stands 150 cm tall (about 5 feet). See Figure 13.
The design team bypassed complex gear systems in favor
of these lightweight pairs of antagonistic pneumatic
actuators that act like our own muscles operating in
pairs, opposing each other in motion. The ‘McKibben
Muscle’ has been used by experimenters here in the US
and these researchers used the Air Muscle from the
Schadow Robot Company. Seven 16-bit MC68HC916Y3
microcontrollers operate the complete system built on
an AlSiMg1 aluminum alloy body structure.
As always, a trip through the many Internet sites on
these and many other unique sites will introduce you to
some cutting edge robots being designed and built.
Virtually every country in Europe has robotic products
or on-going dedicated robot research. SV
Did you know that if you’re a paid subscriber to SERVO
Magazine, you can get the online version for FREE?
80 SERVO 04.2009