Humanoid robot that sees and maps

Jul 02, 2013
Humanoid robot that sees and maps
Roboray. Credit: Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology

(Phys.org) —Computer vision algorithms that enable Samsung's latest humanoid robot, Roboray, to build real-time 3D visual maps to move around more efficiently have been developed by researchers from the University of Bristol.

By using cameras, the robot builds a map reference relative to its surroundings and is able to "remember" where it has been before. The ability to build visual maps quickly and anywhere is essential for navigation, in particular when the robot gets into places that have no (GPS) signals or other references.

Roboray is one of the most advanced humanoid robots in the world, with a height of 140 cm and a weight of 50 kg. It has a on its head and 53 different actuators including six for each leg and 12 for each hand.

The robot features a range of novel technologies. In particular it walks in a more human-like manner by using what is known as dynamic walking. This means that the robot is falling at every step, using gravity to carry it forward without much . This is the way humans walk and is in contrast to most other humanoid robots that "bend their knees to keep the centre of mass low and stable". This way of walking is also more challenging for the as objects in images move more quickly.

The Bristol team, who have been collaborating with Samsung Electronics in South Korea since 2009, was in charge of the computer vision aspects of 3D SLAM (simultaneous localisation and mapping).

Dr Walterio Mayol-Cuevas, Deputy Director of the Bristol Robotics Lab, Reader in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol and leader of the team, said: "A humanoid robot has an ideal shape to use the same tools and spaces designed for people, as well as a good test bed to develop designed for .

"Robots that close the gap with human behaviours, such as by featuring dynamic walking, will not only allow more energy efficiency but be better accepted by people as they move in a more natural manner."

Dr Sukjune Yoon from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), speaking about the collaboration with the University of Bristol, said: "Bristol's visual SLAM and their other real-time visual technologies have been very beneficial for Samsung Electronics' project.

"Mapping in real-time for a biped humanoid is much harder than for wheeled vehicles not only because there is less constant contact with the ground. In the near future, it is expected that humanoid robotic technologies will be able to provide a valuable service to society with robots working alongside people."

The technology of rapid 3D visual mapping, developed at Bristol, is internationally renowned because of its ability to robustly track and recover from rapid motions and occlusions, which is essential for when the humanoid moves and turns at normal walking speeds. This Bristol work has been used for a number of applications outside robotics too, from augmented reality to commercial applications in the analysis of wearable Gaze data.

A paper describing some aspects of this collaboration with Samsung is published in the journal Advanced Robotics.

Explore further: WABIAN robot from Japan steps closer to human walk

More information: Yoon, S. et al. Real-time 3D simultaneous localization and map-building for a dynamic walking humanoid robot, Advanced Robotics, Volume 27, Issue 10, 2013. www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01691864.2013.785379#.Ucg3wJyOmN8

Related Stories

WABIAN robot from Japan steps closer to human walk

Jun 02, 2013

(Phys.org) —Researchers designing adult bipedal robots have faced a challenge in limitations in a robot's walking pattern. They seek ways to improve on designs to have robots move more naturally. Improving ...

Flying robots get off the ground

Jun 17, 2013

Attaching a platform to a high-rise building to evacuate people in an emergency, or creating a landing stage for an aircraft on uneven terrain - these are just two areas in which flying robots could have ...

Recommended for you

A robot dives into search for Malaysian Airlines flight

Apr 18, 2014

In the hunt for signs of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370—which disappeared on March 8 after deviating for unknown reasons from its scheduled flight path—all eyes today turn to a company that got its start ...

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots

Apr 16, 2014

A way of making hundreds—or even thousands—of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Students turn $250 wheelchair into geo-positioning robot

Apr 16, 2014

Talk about your Craigslist finds! A team of student employees at The University of Alabama in Huntsville's Systems Management and Production Center (SMAP) combined inspiration with innovation to make a $250 ...

Using robots to study evolution

Apr 14, 2014

A new paper by OIST's Neural Computation Unit has demonstrated the usefulness of robots in studying evolution. Published in PLOS ONE, Stefan Elfwing, a researcher in Professor Kenji Doya's Unit, has succes ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

wealthychef
not rated yet Jul 02, 2013
I hope my XV-11 robot vacuum cleaner gets smarter too someday
VendicarE
not rated yet Jul 02, 2013
bede... bede... bede... bede.... bede....

Humpty
1 / 5 (4) Jul 02, 2013
Yeah when it can walk in a reasonably human style time frame, across one side of Australia to the other, with no break downs, and either on a single charge or with the capacity to self recharge, or by doing energy pick ups at predetermined points, like a person having a regular meal, then I will give it total credibility......., over mountains, through desserts, across rivers...

Until then yes siree, it's just a clever bit of laborotory tech.

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...