DARwIn-OP Humanoid Robot Demo

Virginia Tech roboticist Dennis Hong shows off the new DARwIn-OP open-source robot

2 min read
DARwIn-OP Humanoid Robot Demo

darwin-op

Dennis Hong is a Virginia Tech roboticist who has been building some really cool robots. He's also a good salesman. Watch him showing off his "new baby," DARwIn-OP, at this week's IEEE Humanoids 2010 conference in Nashville, Tenn. Designed by Hong's RoMeLa team and collaborators at University of Pennsylvania's Grasp Lab, Purdue University, and Korean company Robotis, DARwIn-OP has both its hardware and software open source. That means that in principle you can fabricate the parts, choose your own electronics and actuators, and build your own. Or maybe you'd prefer to buy one already assembled? Robotis is selling it for around U.S. $8,000 . (Update: Robotis announced that it will be $12,000 MSRP and $9,600 educational discount price.)

[youtube //www.youtube.com/v/0FFBZ6M0nKw?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]

Specs below from Robotis:

DARwIn-OP (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence-Open Platform)
* Height: 455 mm (17.9 inches)
* Weight: 2.8 kg (6.3 lbs)
* Head: USB camera (HD); status LEDs on eyes and forehead; USB mic; two microphones on sides of the head (optional)
* Torso: Speaker; 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis accelerometer; Mini SD; WiFi; two cooling fans; two USB interfaces; HDMI; audio line-in; audio line-out; battery; external power input; power switch; Ethernet port; seven status LEDs; removable handle
* Feet: FSR X4 sensor (optional)
* Default walking speed: 24.0 cm/sec (9.5 in/sec); 0.25 sec/step (user modifiable gait)
* Default standing up time from ground: 2.8 sec (from facing down) and 3.9 sec (from facing up)
* Built-in PC: 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Z530 on-board 4 GB flash SSD
* Management controller (CM-730): ARM CortexM3 STM32F103RE 72 MHz
* 20 actuator modules: Robotis Dynamixel RX-28M (6 DOF leg x2 + 3 DOF arm x2 + 2 DOF neck)
* 1 spare actuator (for maintenance and expansion)
* Self-maintenance kit
* Standby mode for low-power consumption
* 4.5 Mbps high-speed Dynamixel bus for joint control
* Battery (30 minutes of operation), charger, and external power adapter
* Mechanical and electronics information and source code: http://sourceforge.net/projects/darwinop

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Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman
LightGreen

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.

"I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

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