SRI Robotics is developing the PROXI humanoid robot, which can operate up to 20 times more efficiently than current humanoid robotic platforms.
Mechanical design of robot is such that the robot recycles the mechanical energy. The energy from the robot’s impact with the ground is stored as mechanical energy in the springs and this stored energy used in next step, resulting high efficiency. SRI Robotics team claims that their humanoid robot can operate up to 20 times more efficiently than current humanoid robotic platforms.
To meet both the high-performance and high-efficiency requirements SRI is taking a three-pronged approach:
- The mechanical design includes a novel transmission, which reduces friction and increases efficiency to 97 percent (as opposed to 60-to-70 percent efficiency in current modern commercial transmissions).
- The electronics design is all electric: electric batteries connect directly to low-cost electric motors, enabling throughput of a significant amount of current without overheating.
- The walking gait is dynamically stable by incorporating springs in the legs to store and release energy, and resembles the natural gait of a human as opposed to the standard slow, squatted, methodical gait employed by current humanoids. In addition, energy from the robot’s impact with the ground is stored as mechanical energy in the springs, and does not get converted into another form of energy, resulting in added efficiency.
The 100kg PROXI robot has 2.2 kWh battery capacity and can operate continuously upto 8 hrs. Robot with robust underactuated hands can lift upto 100kg. Each joint has torque sensing capability for better human robot interaction. Energy-storing spring has used for efficient walking.
Bipedal robots expend a lot of energy standing up and walking, but new humanoid architectures hope to be 20 to 30 times as efficient. Tested interviewed with robotics professor Aaron Ames about how his team at SRI International has designed a walking system that maximizes battery efficiency while using less than 400 watts of power.
Many of the technologies and components in the PROXI humanoid robot—such as low-cost electronics, high-efficiency transmissions, stability control, and energy-efficient motion control—are being applied to other SRI Robotics programs. Future applications for the high-efficiency humanoid robot include support for firefighting, disaster response, and potentially household assistance.
image -1: youtube source: SRI International