With time, that day does not seem to be far when robots will take over human lives.
Researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and ShanghaiTech University have created an off-the-shelf “shin” solution that allows quadruped robots to speedrun evolution, IEEE Spectrum reports. The output seen is beyond expectations!
The modification is aimed to enable any quadruped to walk on two legs, with a minimal number of changes.
The 3D-printed limbs can be attached to two of the robot’s legs. This allows the robots to balance their entire weight on the appendages.
In fact, as demonstrated in a video, the reinforcements allowed a small quadruped robot to take its first, albeit shaky steps.
“Bipedal robots usually have more degrees of freedom in their legs to allow a more dynamic and adaptive locomotion,” WPI researcher Andre Rosendo told IEE Spectrum, “but in our case, we are focusing on the multimodal aspect to reap the benefits from two worlds: stability and speed from quadrupeds, manipulability and a gain in operational height from bipeds.”
Thanks to the robot’s ability to stand up, “we already have some preliminary results on climbing to places that are higher than the center of gravity of the robot itself,” Rosendo added. “After mechanical changes on the forelimbs, we will better evaluate complex handling that might require both hands at the same time, which is rare in current mobile robots.”
It’s a fascinating glimpse of what state-of-the-art robots could soon be capable of. But, perhaps, it’s best to be cautious of what we end up teaching these robots — you know, before it’s too late.