Ghost Robotics Minitaur quadruped robot can open doors and climb stairs

Robotics researchers and engineers all around the world are working on bipedal and quadrupedal robots for various tasks. We want bipedal robots that can use human tools to help us in daily life and in rescue situations where humans might not be able to go to give assistance. The problem is that many of the available robots today are extremely expensive. Ghost Robotics has unveiled a new robot called the Minitaur and this little quadruped robot has some cool tricks up its robotic sleeves.

Minitaur was developed in a lab at the University of Pennsylvania by Avik De and Gavin Kenneally. The bot is very small compared to others of its ilk out there, but it is very capable. Minitaur has some very special direct-drive legs meaning it has no fearing between the electric motors and the legs that touch the ground. The bot also lacks an elastic element with one rigidly connected drive system.

This makes the bot adjustable via software in ways that other robots that lack direct drive can't be. The design also makes the robot more robust, cheaper, and allows it to sense the ground via the motors. The motors are able to impersonate the springs found in the legs of similar robots from different companies. The leg motors also act as sensors and a signal a touchdown detection flag.

The legs and drive system on the bot are robust enough to allow the bot to have a 48-cm vertical jump. One of the coolest things that Minitaur can do is open doors. The process has a bunch of steps that are hard to see in the video of the feat. The process includes the robot jumping up as it sees where the handle for the door is located. Minitaur isn't exactly cheap itself with a MSRP of $10,000, but compared to the cost of other robots on the market it's impressive. The makers think that if they could build the bot in volume it could sell for $1,500.

SOURCE: Spectrum