Robots are getting more and more life-like all the time, but one challenge still facing engineers is shockingly simple: making a robot that can get beat up. With all the intricate machinery involved in creating effective human-esque robots, developing their structures so that falls and stumbles won’t damage their parts is pretty important.
Enter the Robust Humanoid Robot, aka RHP2. A large, hulking piece of silver machinery being developed by the University of Tokyo and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, RHP2 has been built to be knocked down, and then get back up again. And again. And again.
The punishment-taking bot was presented at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems at the end of September in Vancouver, Canada.
As you can see from the video, an armored metal frame has been created to circumvent damaging any essential parts on RHP2 upon falling. According to IEEE Spectrum, the body parts that are most likely to experience stress from falling down (like knees, hands, and elbows) have been reinforced. The robot has also been programmed to strike a prepared pose when it detects a falling is imminent. Once down, a series of motions combined with the robot’s sensor-based awareness of space allow it to right itself in a human-like way.
The current version of RHP2 is powered by electric motors, but the researchers plan to upgrade it to a hydraulic system. With its ability to get up and go, researchers want the RHP2 to be utilized in hazardous situations, like disaster sites, fires, or wet environments.
If you liked this article, check out this video of the “Minitaur” robot that can open doors and walk on ice.