Researchers at Stanford University have developed a new robot that is dog-like and designed to be able to navigate rough terrain and offer lots of agility. The robot is called Doggo, and it can trot, jump, and backflip with no need for treats as a reward. Doggo is designed with reproducibility in mind. Rather than keeping the construction methods and code under wraps, the researchers put it all onto the web freely so users can build their own versions.
Researcher Nathan Kau says that the team wanted the robot to be something you could build on a “relatively small budget.” Larger quadruped robots can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to construct and need customized parts. Stanford Doggo is estimated to cost under $3,000 to build, including manufacturing and shipping costs.
Virtually all the components needed to build the robot can be purchased as-is online. The team hopes that the low build cost lures researchers to develop innovative spinoff robots for their own work. Currently, Doggo can walk, trot, dance, hop, jump, and perform the occasional backflip. The current version of Doggo is about the size of a beagle.
The team plans to work on a larger version in the future. The student team behind the robot spent a significant amount of time researching readily available supplies and testing the parts as they made them without using simulations. The bot is capable of maintaining a consistent gait and the desired trajectory, even on varying terrain.
The bot uses motors that can sense external forces and determine how much force and torque each leg should apply in response. The motors recompute 8,000 times per second. The team says they were surprised at how well Doggo can jump saying it can jump up to 3.5 feet into the air.