Swiss robotics student Mickaël Achkar from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has developed a new design for a dog robot. The robot is able to move indefinitely once it gains enough momentum. Achkar’s intention is not to compete with high-end robotic dogs, but rather to contribute to the advancement of robotics.
Creating robots that can move and perform tasks requires a deep understanding of their intricacies. Achkar’s work is a small but important innovation in designing more effective robots. By studying the biological mechanisms of canines, Achkar aimed to create a robot with animal characteristics that could move in a variety of ways using just a few joints.
To achieve this, Achkar extracted data on dog movements and structured it to establish the specifications for his robot. Using metal rods, 3D-printed pulleys, thin cables, and screws, he built the body of the robot. Testing it on a treadmill, Achkar and his colleagues discovered that the robot could run autonomously without activating its motors, thanks to the treadmill’s friction and force, as well as its counterweight.
Achkar’s dog robot design is just one of several recent projects in the field of robotics. China, for example, has unveiled the “world’s first mass-produced humanoid robot” that can walk on two legs and carry a load of 50 kg. This robot is aimed at addressing China’s growing elderly population and shrinking labor market.
Other projects include Carnegie Mellon University’s Head-Worn Assistive Teleoperation (HAT) device, which allows users to control a robot hand using head motions and voice commands, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s project that focuses on improving robot design through software.
Achkar’s work in designing a dog robot that can move indefinitely brings us closer to a better robotic future. It is through small innovations like this that we can continue to make progress in the field of robotics.