Robot conference Humanoids: Cheaper robots can promote research
Published on: July 23, 2021
The currently most powerful humanoid robots such as Atlas, Asimo, TORO or Talos, which are particularly present in the media, are usually very expensive and therefore only accessible to a few research groups. More cost-effective solutions could put research on a broader basis and thereby advance it.
Cheaper, but less precise
Two reasons for the high costs are the complex manufacturing processes with high-quality materials and the use of expensive force / torque sensors, explained Aghil Yousefi-Koma (University of Tehran) at the Humanoids conference. When developing the Surena robot, which is currently in his fourth version is available, it was therefore waived. The price for this is considerable inaccuracies. There could be deviations of up to 7 centimeters in the position of the feet. In order to enable safe walking on uneven ground, the robot was equipped with simple contact sensors at the four corners of the feet, which signal contact with the ground 1.5 centimeters before touching down. This allows the robot to adjust the position of the feet and is able to cope with unevenness of up to one centimeter and inclines of up to 3 degrees without speed restrictions.
The robot’s five-finger hand also works without force / torque sensors, but calculates the force feedback solely from the current fluctuations in the motors. Nevertheless, Surena IV is capable of various manipulations and can, among other things write his name on a blackboard. All parts of the robot were made in the university workshop, says Yousefi-Koma. The researchers are convinced that this has drastically reduced the cost of developing humanoid robots, but failed to provide a more accurate estimate of the cost of Surena IV.
Robots are conquering our everyday lives and are becoming social actors in human society. What are the possible development stages of the robots?