A human-sized weightlifting android successfully picked up a 145 pound humanoid doll from a bed in Tokyo recently. This remarkable feat was accomplished by an android robot that itself weighs just 154 pounds, created by University of Tokyo professor Yasuo Kuniyoshi and his team of engineers. Of course, the first prerequisite for a body-slamming, wrestling robot is the ability to lift an opponent as big as yourself.
The android robot (see photo) was able to perform this feat without large motors due to an interesting advance in sensor technology (it has more than 1800 embedded sensors) and software that can interpret the data.
"Large motors are not safe for use in household robots," explains Kuniyoshi. "Only a small amount of power is applied at each of this robot's joints, but it can successfully move heavy objects by using the tactile sensors to regulate how it lifts and carries things."
The weightlifting robot is also able to execute different maneuvers depending upon the situation. In picking up a thirty kilo package from a table, it slid the package to the edge of the table and then picked it up with the other arm.
To pick up a person-sized doll from a bed (a task you might assign a robot nurse), it slid its arms under the doll, lifted and backed away.
Professor Kuniyoshi states that the new android robot has potential uses in the nursing care industry or the moving profession.
To get a better idea of the advance involved, compare this android robot to RI-MAN, a robot nurse developed in the RIKEN Bio-Mimetic Control Research Center. RI-MAN (see photo) can only pick up about a third as much weight.
Because it is clearly intended to be man-sized, this is a good time to remember the origin of the term robot - from Karel Capek's 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossem's Universal Robots.)
Read more about RI-MAN at RI-MAN And Roujin-Z Robots: Elder Care Fact And Fiction and RI-MAN Face Tracking, Electronic Nose Robot ; also, for more information about advances in nursing robotics see Robot Nurses Seem Unavoidable and Penelope the Robo-Nurse. Via Android shows off people-lifting skills.
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)