SupraPed Robots Will Use Trekking Poles to Hike Across Rough Terrain




This idea is equipping robots with a pair of special trekking poles packed with sensors that, according to the researchers, "transforms biped humanoids into tripeds or quadrupeds or more generally, SupraPeds." By using these smart poles to steady themselves, the robots would be able to navigate through "cluttered and unstructured environments such as disaster sites."


Humans have had a lot of practice walking around on two legs. Robots have not. At the moment, even the best robots are working up to the level of a toddler. Some of them aren't bad at flat terrain, but varied terrain is very difficult. It doesn't just require the physical ability to move and balance, but also the awareness to know what path to take and where feet should be placed.


This video is all simulation, and the programming behind it is fairly complex. The robot will have sophisticated 3D vision, tactile sensing, and a special set of actuated ski poles:


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