Bipedal robot has jet-powered feet

The challenge for designers of robots that walk on two legs like humans is that these bipedal robots tend to fall over. Humans are very good at balancing, but robots not so much. A new robot has been designed at the Guangdong University of Technology that is much more stable than other bipedal robots out there thanks to one unique feature.

This robot has jets for toes. The bot is called the Jet-HR1 and it has ducted fans for feet. Those ducted fans help the robot stretch its legs out farther to clear obstacles and gaps without falling.

The challenge for robot designers is the longer steps the robot takes, the more the center of balance moves to the leg they are stepping with. Take too big of a step and the bot falls. The ducted fan feet allow the robot to take larger steps while the fans shift the center of gravity to keep the bot upright.

JET-HR1 is just legs with no torso or head and stands 65 cm tall and weighs 6.5 kg. The ducted fan jets on each foot weigh 232 grams and can produce 2kg of thrust each. In experiments, the bot was able to step over a 37cm wide gap.

The ducted fan fired up to keep the robot balanced and the entire gap stepping maneuver was completed in under a minute. The ability to use the jet engines to keep balance opens the door for the robot to use those engines to balance in all sorts of situations that might be encountered in a disaster rescue type situation.

SOURCE: Spectrum