The humanoid robot, Walkman, will represent Europe in the World Champions League of Robotics, “Darpa Robotics Challenge” in LA from June 5th to 6th. The project was realized by the IIT (Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa). “We are proud to attend the DRC with an entirely Italian project that will represent the whole Europe,” said the Science Director of IIT, Roberto Cigolani.
It is 6ft and 220lb; it has a battery that allows it to be active for more than one hour; it can open doors, drive, use tools like drills, and open or close a industrial valve. “The robot’s abilities – said Antonio Bicchi, scientific co-coordinator of the project WalkMan – are due to its humanoid shape, which is necessary for a future robot that will need to live with humans and adapt to their environment. Its hands were designed by “Pisa/IIT SoftHand”, which based its project on the human hand so that the robot is able to catch whatever object”
The aim of the competition is to set some technological standards to be used during natural disasters or damages caused by men. 25 countries are involved, USA, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and China among them. The three best projects will have a $3.5 million reward. Walkman and other robots will have to show their skills: walking and working in complete autonomy, going up the stair and past some obstacles, opening doors and valves, using tools and driving a Ranger. Designers will also have their tasks because software and interface developed by each equip will be taken into account, just like the different ways used to overcome obstacles, technologies used to grant balance, resistance, manual ability and energetic efficiency. In addition, communications between scientists and their humanoids will be interrupted in order to make the simulation more real for emergencies.
Transaltion provided by Mary Ann D’Costa