From animal-shaped to wheeled robots, scientists around the world have been trying to create a robot that could prove beneficial to humans and integrate into their society. Achieving another milestone in the field of robotics, a team of Italian researchers has created a humanoid robot that can interact with the environment and replace humans in emergency situations.
The Walk-Man robot developed by scientists at the University of Pisa and the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Italian Institute of Technology) is an anthropomorphic robot designed to use human tools. The researchers believe that their robot can be used to carry out search and rescue operations within damaged buildings.
The humanoid robot is programmed to lift collapsed buildings and masonry within the broken structures with the help of human-adapted tools. Nikos Tsagarakis, the lead researcher, reportedly said that a robot with similar form as that of humans can easily access paths and areas that are considered appropriate for human use.
Tsagarakis further said that the world won't be required to adapt to accommodate their Walk-Man humanoid robot.
"There's one factor that everyone agrees, that actually our world, our environment it was designed for our body basically. So, we have tools that are designed to be grasped by humanoid, human hands,” said Tsagarakis, in an interview with Reuters. “You have also areas or access paths that are actually appropriate for our body forms. So it means that if you build a robot that has a very similar form, you need to adapt less the environment in order to have this robot operational within such a space."
To interact with the environment as humans do, the Walk-Man robot makes use of its hands, legs, arms and feet. In addition, it overcomes an obstacle by supporting itself through a more stable balance and motion.
The 6-feet-tall Walk-Man robot shows balance, locomotion and manipulation capabilities similar to humans and weighs around 118 kg. The research team is currently working toward developing greater manipulation skills and reflexive behavior in the robot that will allow it to walk through uneven terrain, and make rapid start and stop gait transitions.