Japanese Robot to Walk on the Moon by 2015

The next step on the Moon may well be taken by a robot.  In a country that produces robots to do almost anything you can imagine, a robot to walk on the lunar surface is not so far-fetched.  The Japanese just may be the next nation to plant a flag on the dusty surface of Earth’s largest satellite.  That is the plan of the Osaka-based “Space Oriented Higashiosaka Leading Association” (SOHLA) which announced its goal of putting a robot on the moon by 2015.

SOHLA consists of six private space technology companies with connections to governmental space research institutions.  The group estimates it will take about $10.5 million to make the project work. SOHLA is trying to build on the success of the satellite it launched into orbit last year, Maido-1.  The bipedal humanoid robot planned for the Moon is tentatively named Maido-kun.

Some think that the mission of this pioneering robot should be more than a simply flag planting ceremony, but even if this machine does not discover any new resources for Japan, it may well show the world that the Japanese have set their sights on laying claim to whatever valuable materials may be located there in the future.  Read the story at the links below.

Image Credit: SOHLA via Popular Science

Story by Jeremy Hsu at Popular Science  "That's one small step for robots, one giant leap sideways for space exploration. …" 

See all stories on this topic

Via Popular ScienceCrunchGearNODE [JP], and Pink Tentacle

Bipedal Japanese Robot Will Walk on the Moon by 2015
Popular Science
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 15:27:51 GMT

Robot Takes a New Step Forward






PETMAN is one of a new kind of walking robot described in this story from Jesse Emspak, correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor. This bot, designed by Boston Dynamics in Waltham, Massachusetts, is a bipedal robot that can stroll in a very human way as you can see by watching the video.  The mechanical automaton has no torso, just steel and plastic legs tethered to a system of power cables. In its independent walking motion, this machine uses the same heel-to-toe motion as humans. Most amazing is its ability to recover when pushed.  PETMAN sidesteps to recover its balance. And New BalanceTM get ready, this robot even wears shoes!

However, before this humanoid machine runs marathons, it may find a job with the military testing designs for humans.  It could also be a stand-in for humans on Mars.  Make sure and check out the full story at the links below.

 Walking robot


Photo Credit:  Carmen K. Sisson/Special to The Christian Science Monitor

"For the past 30 years, scientists and technicians have grappled with making robots walk on two legs. Humans do it effortlessly, but the simple act has a lot of hidden complexity. And until recently, computers were very bad at it.

Now, several teams across the country are refining the first generation of robots that are close to walking like people. That includes the ability to recover from stumbles, resist shoves, and navigate rough terrain."

Source:   Jesse Emspak,  Correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor/ December 8, 2009 edition

                http://features.csmonitor.com/innovation/2009/12/08/a-new-step-forward-for-robots/#

via features.csmonitor.com

Robotic Turkeys Not Afraid of Thanksgiving

Robotic turkeys need not worry about ending up on someone's Thanksgiving table.  There is not much meat on those legs and the bird is just a bit tough to chew.  I found this old article on a robotic turkey when I did a search for a Thanksgiving topic for RobotNext.  So, in keeping with my on-going fascination about robots based on biology, this seemed like the perfect post.  The robot is called the Spring Turkey and it was the first walking robot developed at the MIT Leg Lab.  Check out the excerpt from the article from MIT.  Then follow the link for more information.

Spring-turkey (1) 

Photo Credit:  MIT Leg Laboratory

"Researchers at MIT's Leg Laboratory have built a series of legged robots… The first walking robot was Spring Turkey, which could only walk in circles attached to the end of a mechanical boom… Spring Turkey is a planar bipedal walking robot, designed and built by Peter Dilworth and Jerry Pratt. The robot was developed as an experimental platform for implementing force control actuation techniques, motion description and control techniques, and various walking algorithms."

For more information on Spring Turk go to the MIT Leg Lab.

via web.mit.edu