With its first launch, HyQ, the brainchild of Italian Institute of Technology had already conquered how to manipulate the terrains. Now the quadruped robot has resurrected but with more tricks than before.
Claudio Semini, the lead researcher claimed that the ‘second coming’ of HyQ is sodden with wide variety of motion skills that would help the bot in facing the dynamically changing terrain. Initially, the bot was designed in terms of reactive behavior, the mode that helped it from recovering from huddles but this time, the focus is kept on making the machine smarter by taking self-decision, that is, autonomous. The team is teaching the bot on using the inbuilt cameras and sensors and accordingly positioning its feet. For example, putting extra pressure at the sides of the feet, so as to avoid falling or slipping.
The team is also preparing the machine in brisk walking and by taking full advantage of its torque-controlled legs, they are pursuing it to respond to disturbances, since HyQ can adjust its limbs’ stiffness and damping in real time. This ability helps the machine in absorbing shocks and vibrations without passing any damage to the entire body. They were able to demonstrate that the bot can take a hard hit easily by performing a “flying trot”, where it lifted its body from the ground for a brief period.
The sturdy compliant system of HyQ soaked up the impact, which might have otherwise led the crashing on its face.
The team calls it the most versatile quadruped robot and why not, it is still in infancy yet standing tall in front of huge funded and decades-long researched projects like BigDog, LS3 and WildCat. These robots have been designed keeping in mind one particular skill set, for instance, WildCat is fabricated to run fast but HyQ is the only robot that can carry forward a wide variety of motions and whose adjustments can be tweaked by software, that is making the legs stiff or springy as per the requirements.
Information regarding how the robot works, its design, controllers and operation is not scarce as is the case with Boston Dynamics, which makes it all the more promising. Once HyQ gets equipped with arms, it would stand in competition with Atlas and other robots that joined the DARPA Robotics Challenge.
Source: HyQ Project