You may recall from our article on the latest DARPA Robotics Challenge that one of the CMU teams was planning to build a humanoid robot named CHIMP, for CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform. The contest is very ambitious, calling for humanoid rescue robots that can break through concrete walls, climb ladders, open doors, and use power tools designed for humans. CMU's Tartan Rescue team has now released details of their design. CHIMP combines features of humanoid robots with elbow and knee mounted track drives, allowing the robot to walk, climb, or resort to older style skid steered tank-like drive. The front limbs have human-like jointing and mobility. From the news release:
CHIMP will be able to perform complex, physically challenging tasks through supervised autonomy. A remote, human operator will make high-level commands controlling the robot’s path and actions, while the robot’s on-board intelligence prevents collisions, maintains stability and otherwise keeps the robot from harm. The robot also will be pre-programmed to execute tasks such as grasping a tool, stepping on a ladder rung or turning a steering wheel without step-by-step direction from the human controller, circumventing the lag between command and execution.
The team optimistically claims CHIMP will have "near human strength and dexterity" and that the robot will be able to adapt its motion to changing circumstance so that "in a pinch, it can do anything". We look forward to seeing prototypes of this robot and wish Team Tartan luck with their project. For more details, check out the Team Tartan CHIMP website.