Apparently a group of researchers at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the University of Bremen haven’t seen the movies Planet of the Apes or Red Planet when they decided to construct a ape-like robot designed to one day walk on the Moon. Despite that little oversight though, what the team was able to develop is quite remarkable.
DFKI’s goal was to create a robot that can move about on rough terrain, and by looking at nature, they decided to take some cues from the ape, which typically gets around on all fours yet has a human resemblance. It may sound like a simple solution, but making a robot maneuver in sync on arms and legs has its set of challenges.
iStruct, as it is being called, is outfitted with a variety of force sensors on its hands and feet that detect its alignment and the makeup of the land its walking on, and uses a set of proximity sensors to prevent it from running into an object that may be in the way. Moving on all fours also comes with the advantage of balance, which isn’t as simple to achieve with the more typical upright on two feet robots.
Instead of boring you with all of the technical details, which you can find at the DFKI source link below, we’ve included two videos that show the iStruct robot in action.