The future of hybrid designs offers greater flexibility. With its four-wheeled legs, the Centaur is more stable than a humanoid bot, but still retains the two forward revolts of the arms needed to manipulate objects such as tools and doors. (Or, as in the video below, karate-cut some plywood for fun.)
The Centaur: Four legs good, Six limbs better
As reported by IEEE Spectrum, the Centauro design is based on that of Momaro, another centaur-robot designed by researchers at the University of Bonn. Momaro was the top European performer at the DARPA Robotics Challenge in 2015, which tested the ability of robots to perform the kind of activities they might encounter in a search-and-rescue mission. (Yes: this was the same event where a lot and lots of robots fell to the ground.) Other top performers of the event were also hybrids, including the South Korean winning team KAIST university, which built a robot that turns from a motor design biped.
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Centaur by itself is 1.5 meters tall, weighs 93 kg, and is made of an assortment of light metals (aluminum, covered with a plastic “skin” 3D printing. It has a 2.5-hour battery life and is controlled by a human operator.
The main selling point of this project, however, is flexibility. Each limb robot has six degrees of freedom and can rotate the hip, knee, and ankle. This means that you can take in some different positions, including a straight wheel in position (ideal for rapid movement) and “spider” collection, which gives more stability during the operation of instruments. One can also choose his way through the rubble and even climb the stairs.
Naturally, the robot design is just the challenge. Now, researchers must understand the best way to control; and it will be the Centauro test could always the most difficult challenges. And who knows, in the future, we could see robots with centaur designs to save humans from dangerous situations.
Ikechukwu Onu is a writer, front-end dev, and digital junkie with a profound interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets or apps, he enjoys contributing in groups and forums, tinkering with websites, and hanging out with friends.