A humanoid robot that sees, knows where it is, and walks like a human? Finally. Now get me a beer.
July 4, 2013 by Amara D. Angelica
Samsung’s Roboray — a humanoid robot who actually walks like a human, sort of — just got a brain upgrade: new computer-vision algorithms developed by University of Bristol researchers.
Roboray can now build real-time 3D visual maps, so he can walk around without being spaced out and wandering off.
Roboray has stereo cameras (one in each eye), allowing him to build a mental map of its surroundings, and to “remember” where he has been before. That kind of autonomous robot navigation will also come in handy in places where there’s no GPS signal.
Walk like a human
Roboray walks in a more human-like manner by using “dynamic walking” — actually falling at every step, and using gravity to carry himself forward.
Which is how humans naturally walk. So this makes him better accepted by people and more energy-efficient, says team leader Dr. Walterio Mayol-Cuevas, Deputy Director of the Bristol Robotics Lab.
Bristols’ rapid 3D visual mapping technology can also robustly track and recover from quick motions or confusing territory, like the black and white tiles in the video below.
Most other humanoid robots, like Honda’s ASIMO, bend their knees to keep the center of mass low and stable. That’s a problem for computer vision algorithms because objects in images move more quickly as the robot bounces up and down.
ASIMO is sure-footed, but sheesh, he looks like he’s 105 and can’t hold his body up. In the video below, he’s described as “running.” Erm, more like creeping away from the scene?
Compare that to Roboray in the video below. The second slimmer, cooler model at 0.59 shashays like C-3PO and totes p0wns Asimo. Yeah, he’s still shaky, but hey, give him time to get his moves down, OK?