A team of researchers from the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia has created a hybrid, centaur robot which has four wheeled legs and two front-facing arms which can help with providing aid in future during the search and rescue missions. The robot can pick blocks, navigate through the rubble, climb stairs, and can karate chop the wood with its arms. The centaur has a length of 1.5-meters and weighs around 93kgs. Its body structure enables it to be adaptable and robust. This is a trait which is essential to carry out the search and rescue missions.
The centaur robot is designed to be “a human-robot symbiotic system where a human operator is telepresent with its whole body in a Centaur-like robot, [capable] of robust locomotion and dexterous manipulation in the rough terrain and austere conditions characteristic of disasters.” The robot is created using some light-weight materials, its skin is made of 3D printed plastic, and it contains three computers inside which helps it to navigate. The robot has a battery life of 2.5 hours.
The design of the robot was inspired by the Momaro, which is a centaur-like robot and is designed by engineers from the University of Bonn. Momaro was the top European performer at the DARPA Robotics Challenge 2015. The other performers on the event were also hybrid. Centaur robot has flexibility in its limbs which makes it useful among others. Each of its limbs can rotate and allows the robot to take various shapes and postures for different tasks. It can crouch like a spider while operating the tools and can also be in an upright wheeled position for moving. The robot is operated manually, and it depends on the intuitive and effectiveness of the control interface that whether or not the robot will be useful in the future.