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May 8, 2012

Japanese Humanoid Robotics Platform Displays Great Balance



HRP3L-JSK

 Robots
Junichi Urata and his colleagues at the University of Tokyo's JSK Lab are working on a humanoid version bipedal robot that is able to withstand an onslaught of kicks. They've developed a high-torque, high-speed robotic leg based on a novel electrical actuation system. Their robot uses high-voltage and high-current liquid-cooled motor drivers that get their power from a 13.5-farad capacitor system. The researchers modified an existing HRP3L, developed by Kawada Industries, to create their robot, which they call HRP3L-JSK.
For robotics enthusiasts, the video of Boston Robotics Big Dog robot being kicked, and compensating for the force applied has become classic. It appears now that the 'kicking a robot' test is being adopted for other robotics platforms as well.

Junichi Urata and his colleagues at the University of Tokyo's JSK Lab, led by Professor Masayuki Inaba, are working on a humanoid version bipedal robot that also is able to withstand an onslaught of kicks.

They've developed a high-torque, high-speed robotic leg based on a novel electrical actuation system. Their robot uses high-voltage and high-current liquid-cooled motor drivers that get their power from a 13.5-farad capacitor system. The capacitor can supply current very fast and reliably, something that batteries are not especially  good at. The researchers modified an existing HRP3L, developed by Kawada Industries, to create their robot, which they call HRP3L-JSK.

Thanks to the capacitor-powered motor drivers, the robot's Maxon 200-watt brushless motors (modified to be liquid-cooled) can achieve instantaneous speeds of over 1000 degrees per second and 350 Nm of torque on the robot's knee joint.

This capability allows the 53-kg robot to react to disturbances (in its case, kicks, knee strikes, and other abuse from researchers) and even jump 44 centimeters off the ground (though the landing part will need work). The robot relies on a new balance control system that detects disturbances and computes 170 foot placement possibilities in 1 millisecond, choosing the best candidate to keep the robot from falling.

The new method is a collaboration between the JSK team and researchers from Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). Urata, who recently received a PhD degree for his HRP3L-JSK work, now has his eyes on the DARPA Robotics Challenge.

He's starting to organize a team to add manipulation arms and more sensors to the HRP3L-JSK lower-body. DARPA, for its part, has chosen a Boston Dynamics humanoid powered by hydraulic systems as the official hardware platform. As more teams join the competition, it will be interesting to see what kind of actuation system they choose.





SOURCE  IEEE Spectrum

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