Karate-Chopping Robot Could Help Disaster Response


Somewhere in-between the non-threatening co-bots found on the plant floor and horrifying images of a Terminator from the big screen, lies a collection of robots with potentially intimidating functionality and life-saving applications.

One such example could be the Centauro – a 5’ tall robot developed by the Italian Institute of Technology. Combining a two-armed upper body with a four-legged base, the 200-pound unit inspired by Greek Mythology, can run for more than two hours on a single charge.

The Centauro’s design allows it to simultaneously handle rugged terrain while grabbing, lifting, and moving heavy objects. The bot’s legs allow for rotating and extending its hips, knees, and ankles, with a wheel at the bottom for added mobility.

In addition to being a strong fit for disaster recovery operations, its developers also point to potential uses as a collaborative robot in heavy-duty assembly operations or in assisting with field service operations. From a military perspective, the robot’s upper body dexterity and maneuverability could lend well to inspection applications or even bomb disposal.

Or, if you need a non-human bouncer at the club, it’s strong enough to deliver a board-splitting, karate-style chop. However, the speed at which Centauro currently moves means it probably won’t connect too often.

Looking forward, the robot’s developers want to upgrade both the hardware and software in providing more effective human-robot interfaces, application specific software tools, and improved human controls.

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