Robust-Legged Robot Can Do (Almost) Anything

Researchers have designed a robotic system that enables a low-cost and relatively small-legged robot to climb and descend stairs nearly its height, traverse varied terrain, cross gaps, and even operate in the dark. “Empowering small robots to climb stairs and handle a variety of environments is crucial to developing robots that will be useful in people’s homes as well as search-and-rescue operations,” said Deepak Pathak, Assistant Professor, Robotics Institute.

Students Compete in Mechatronics Robotics Competition

Dozens of student teams in Cornell’s College of Engineering vied for a shot to beat corporate sponsor ASML in the annual Mechatronics robotics competition. “We mainly focused on simplicity and robustness of the robot,” said Young June Park, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering. “Our original design had much more complicated strategy and functions but we decided to simplify the design as much as possible to secure the performance and avoid unforeseen errors.”

Microrobots Walk Autonomously

Cornell researchers installed electronic “brains” on tiny solar-powered robots, so they were able to walk autonomously sans external control. “Before, we literally had to manipulate these ‘strings’ in order to get any kind of response from the robot,” said Itai Cohen, Professor of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences. “But now that we have these brains on board, it’s like taking the strings off the marionette. It’s like when Pinocchio gains consciousness.”

Meet ‘SAPPHIRE,’ The High-Voltage Safety Patrol Robot

Short for “Semi-Autonomous Pulsed Power Hazard Inspection Robotic Explorer,” SAPPHIRE was built by a team at University of California, Davis, to safely patrol a dangerous high-voltage area for the National Ignition Facility. “There’s a lot wrapped into going that extra mile of actually building something real,” said Bruno Le Galloudec, Power Conditioning System Engineer and NIF’s Pulsed Power Group leader. “It’s not just classwork, it’s not just theory, it’s not just a simulation, it’s a real device.”