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While science fiction movie robots such as the Transformers and C3PO from Star Wars have so captured our imagination, a team of scientists have achieved a signicant milestone by developing a humanoid robot which can help in search and rescue missions in hazardous environments, disaster sites and other unstructured environments.
Hanafiah Yussof, Ph.D, from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, together with researchers from the Graduate School of Information Science, Nagoya University have proposed a navigation strategy as a humanoid design system based on contact interaction instead of vision to support humanoid motions. This enables the humanoid robot to function wherever vision sensors are compromised such as in dark or smoke-filled environments.
Using this navigation system, the humanoid robot searches for and detects objects using both arms which are equipped with six-axes force sensors. Based on the search results, it then creates suitable trajectory using its legs to perform biped motions.
To optimize the trajectory generation of the humanoid, the researchers measured link parameters of the robot body and proposed a simplified method of kinematics calculation. They analysed biped trajectory locomotion and subsequently defined suitable trajectory motions, the results of which were then compiled in motion algorithm in the robot control system.