24 SERVO 07.2014
JUSTIN TIME FOR CLEANING
Rollin' Justin is the most expensive window cleaner in existence,
featuring "a combination of knowledge-driven high level reasoning
and low level whole-body control strategies in order to solve
complex force-sensitive mobile manipulation tasks."
The humanoid robot from the German Aerospace Center
(DLR) wipes a window as a typical example for whole-body mobile
manipulation. Hybrid reasoning is used to determine the optimal
position of the robot regarding the task to be executed.
Furthermore, the control parameters for the compliant behavior are
specified during the planning phase. This way, uncertainties and
external disturbances can be compensated for by the robot while the task is accomplished. Go to
www.dlr.de/rm/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-5471/8991_read-39882/ to see Justin in action.
In Morocco, there are spiders that know how to do cartwheels. They can
cartwheel up and down sand dunes which is actually remarkable. The scientist
who found them — Ingo Rechenberg (a professor at the Technical University
of Berlin) — does what you do when you find an animal with a unique and
ingenious mode of locomotion: You make a robot that does the same sort
There isn't a lot of information on the robots themselves except that one
of them is named Tabbot which comes from tabacha, the word for spider in
the language spoken by the local Berbers. Rechenberg suggests that the robot
"may be employed in agriculture, on the ocean floor, or even on Mars."
Robots that roll and tumble definitely have a lot of potential when it
comes to negotiating rough terrain like sand, rocks, or even wet and slippery
surfaces. These robots use large portions of their bodies to come into direct
contact with the ground, which often allows for better weight distribution and
traction than legs or wheels. It's sort of like having tank treads or other high-traction mobility systems except that by rolling, the robot can be significantly
more energy efficient.
Whether or not these robots end up doing anything practical, it’s still
cool to see creative bioinspired designs that actually work like the animals
that they're based on.
Check out the video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=1B9xayZu8n4.
Photos courtesy of Ingo Rechenberg/TU Berlin.