It gets knocked down, but it gets up again. You’re never gonna keep it down. Run!
Researchers at the University of Tokyo and Kawasaki Heavy Industries have designed a humanoid robot that can take a vicious beating and get right back up, lumbering forward undeterred from its task. Great. Perfect. This can’t end badly. Maybe next they’ll combine it with the robots that wield nunchucks or knives. Why not?
Dubbed the Robust Humanoid Robot (RHP2), the sturdy machine addresses a current problem with humanoid robots: keeping them from tipping over and damaging themselves. Rather than taking years to increase its balance to nightmare-fuel levels, they took a quicker, more practical route, designing a robot better equipped to sustain falls and get right back up.
Their intention is to create a robot that can be immediately put to use in hazardous situations (disaster sites, fire sites, etc.). In addition to its armored metal frame, the RHP2 has additional reinforcements at stress points like the knees, hands, chest, hips, elbows, and back, so be sure not to aim at those reinforced areas when you’re inevitably fighting one of these things.
The RHP2 is also programmed to take a protective stance when it starts to fall and use human-like movements to pick itself back up, as seen in this helpful graphic:
Okay, maybe that’s not the real flowchart. Here it is:
The team, led by Kei Okada and Masayuki Inaba, presented the RHP2 at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Canada last week, and they made a video of the resilient robot being tested. Feel free to mute the buzzing audio and imagine a writer screaming in terror instead.