A new gig is going set in motion an entire world of ideas. Remember all those sci-fi movies in which the main character was assisted by a robotic side-kick in order to overcome all odds? What R2D2 was for Obi Wan and Luke and Cortana is to Master Chief, defies natural reasoning, leading to a new idea of collaboration between man and machine. A new robo-rave featuring Walk-Man is going to blow out your mind.
But let’s get a few facts straight. So, what exactly is a Walk-man? No, I don’t think it refers to that old portable music wizard that worked with a lot of cassettes. Actually, Walk-Man is this year’s winner of the DARPA Robotic Challenge, a competition of wits, cleverness and outright craziness sometimes. Walk-Man is project of a couple of Italian robotics researchers from the University of Pisa.
The all new robo-rave featuring Walk-Man has quite a lot of perks than any other of robotic projects. First of all, the Italian scientists have designed the new automaton in order to help out around the house. Leaving the joke behind, the new project aims to create the perfect anthropomorphic side-kink that is capable of handling hazardous assignments.
Basically, what we have here is Gordon Freeman’s look-alike, if he decided to be more machine than man. Walk-Man is specifically designed to fulfill all kind of dangerous tasks and to maneuver around hostile terrain. Moreover, regarding their decision of giving the robot a more human touch, the scientists even came out with a little explanation about why they chose to give the robot this appearance.
The Italian IT experts argued that the robot was designed like this in order to facilitate his interaction with the surrounding environment. Although its creators could have fitted him with 8 legs in order to increase mobility or with any number of upper limbs, to increase and optimize the number of tasks, they chose to stick to the old human design. After all, most shapes out there are made the way they are in order to help us interact with them.
Walk-Man is fitted with a three-dimension laser scanner and a stereo vision mechanism. Both systems are incorporated in their heads. Also, its head is fitted with a motor, capable of letting him move his head in many directions.
The project is far from being finalized. At the moment, the researchers are working on a couple of algorithms for the robot. He would use this algorithms in order to be able to think and act on its own. Furthermore, its makers still have to figure out what’s the best way for their robot to keep its balance while walking or working.