WALK-MAN BACK IN STYLE
Since the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals back in June 2015, roboticists at
the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) have
been working to improve the capabilities of
their custom-made humanoid disaster robot,
WALK-MAN is part of a much larger
European Commission funded project which
involves a variety of research institutes and
universities all contributing to the
development of different aspects of the
robot — from simulation to perception to locomotion and
manipulation. After a solid five years of work, the WALK-MAN project is now at its final validation phase, and it’s
gotten one last major upgrade to better prepare it to be
helpful in future disasters.
There have been a number of
hardware improvements, starting with a
redesigned frame made of aluminum,
magnesium alloys, and titanium. These
lightweight materials shaved 31 kilograms
off of WALK-MAN, bringing it down from
133 kg to just 102 kg.
With less mass to haul around
(especially upper body mass), the robot is
now faster, more dynamic, and better
able to balance itself — all very
important things for moving around the
types of disaster areas it’s intended for.
The upper body actuators are new as well, and even with a
smaller battery, improved efficiency means that WALK-MAN can operate for about
two hours on a 1 k Wh
The original WALK-MAN wasn’t the slimmest
of robots, but the new
version is more compact in
both width and depth,
making it easier to go
through doorways. IIT has
collaborated with the
University of Pisa on
biomorphic 19 DOF hands
that can robustly grasp a
wide variety of objects, and the arms are now strong
enough to carry 10 kg around for more than 10 minutes.
22 SERVO 05/06.2018
The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang opened in seriously impressive fashion, with more than
1,200 Intel Shooting Star drones serving as the stars of
the show. The 1,218 drones set a new Guinness World
Record for the most drones flown simultaneously.
The Intel drones’ performance marked the first-ever time that a Winter Olympics saw a drone light
show. While the world record flight was actually
prerecorded for the event, it doesn’t lessen the
impressiveness of the feat.
Previously, the record for the most drones flown at once
was 500 in Germany in 2016.
Intel notes that its advanced drone technology will be
making appearances and “enhance the Olympic Games