Roboticists in Switzerland have developed a software framework that significantly extends the movement capabilities of four-legged robots, allowing a combination of animal-like actions.
Peter Frankhauser and his colleagues, all of whom are employed by the Robotic Systems Lab of developers ETH Zurich, will present their new design at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Robotics and Automation Society annual conference in Cancun, Mexico between November 15 and 17.
The team call their new software Free Gait, and it has been specifically designed to operate ETH’s prototype four-legged robot, dubbed ANYmal.
The system is optimised to permit robust and versatile task-oriented control of the robot, as well as permitting autonomous operation. Key to the design is a method of whole-body feedback, allowing the system to adjust ANYmal’s gait in real time to cope with rough terrain.
Although ANYmal is mooted for development as a search and rescue bot in outdoors areas, this video, made by the company, shows that it is equally capable of operating with the close confines of buildings – right down to summoning the elevator.