If history has taught us anything about locomotive is that bipedal is the most versatile form of locomotive for going places. With this in mind, it is only logical that mankind would develop robots that mimic our legs so it (a robot) could go where humans go. However, it is not without its caveat. Like our legs, it can’t move as fast, at least not at sustained speed.
For that humans turned to wheeled transportation. But what about a bipedal robot like say, for example, Cassie? Well, it too can hop onto a pair of hovershoes which is exactly what UC Berkeley’s Hybrid Robotics Lab, led by Koushil Sreenath, has been working on. The team of researchers took a Cassie bipedal robot, named Cal, and get it to use a pair of Hovershoes.
Hovershoes are essentially a hoverboard (that does not actually hover, I reiterate), but split into two much like the Segway Drift W1 eSkates we saw last year and works like such. Meaning, it maneuvers by requiring the rider to lean forward, backward or side to side. A single piece hoverboard itself isn’t easy to use, let alone one that has been split into two.
However, the team over at Hybrid Robotics Lab managed to pull it off while I am still clueless how to work on a regular Hoverboard. The researchers added a sensor to Cassie and successfully taught the little ostrich robot to roll around the campus autonomously. The sight of Cassie rolling around on its own on skate was, TBH, pretty crazy.
Imagine the day comes when we have bipedal robots roaming around making delivery, but with deployable skates that would enable them to make point A to point B much quicker.
Here’s have a look at Cassie on Hovershoes being tested and eventually, going on its own in the video embedded below.
Source: IEEE Spectrum.