Centauro disaster response robot is part robot part grandma's walker

Creating a robot that can help responders and save human life during a disaster is challenging work. This is specifically what the DARPA Robotics Challenge was made for and we have seen some cool robots come from that challenge. Some of them have two legs and walk upright, but others are different designs meant for more versatility.

The robot you see here is called the Centauro and was built by the Italian Institute of Technology or IIT. Centauro has four legs that terminate in wheels combined with a humanoid upper torso that sports a head and arms. If the name didn't tip you off, the design is like that of the mythical centaur.

The bot is capable of "robust locomotion" and "dexterous manipulation" in rough terrain and other conditions that are common in disasters. Centauro is 1.5 meters tall and weighs 93kg. The lightweight is thanks to materials like aluminum, magnesium, and titanium. Its outer skin is 3D printed plastic.

A large enough battery is crammed inside that the bot is able to operate for 2.5 hours. The most important part of the robot are its legs. Each has six degrees of freedom and can rotate and extend the hips, knees, and ankles.

The wheel modules can also be individually controlled and are placed at the ankles like hooves. The bot can adapt to different configurations including conventional quadruped robot configurations and spider-like configurations for stability when using tools.

SOURCE: Spectrum