Robots get smaller
In situations where human access is not safe or is undesirable, walking
and climbing robots can be used. Thanks to High Performance Computing and Networking
(HPCN) technologies, robots with increased flexibility and robustness can be built with
significantly reduced cost, size and production time. Utilities and civil engineering are
The WIRED project has used HPCN technologies to build Robug 4, an eight-legged walking
robot that operates under user direction. Robug can still perform its mission even when
one or two legs stop working. The project has also developed software to control the
walking and climbing motion of the robot. This automatically accounts for hardware
reconfiguration (if a leg is removed).
Robug 4, on the WIRED stand, is shown standing on six, five or four legs. A video of
Robug 3 and Robug 4 illustrates how embedded HPCN has made possible a smaller, more
elegant robot. The demonstrator shows embedded microcontrollers connected together as a
parallel computer. Also on display is the control software responsible for the walking and
climbing motion of the robot, and the force-feedback control showing how the robot can
understand its environment from the force on its legs.