Researchers at Osaka University have developed a prototype robot with a double swing arm mechanism and hydraulically powered "hands."
Seen as a solution for heavy-construction applications in disaster areas where autonomous and remote controlled equipment are necessary, the tracked vehicle can use its dual arms to support itself on rugged terrain as well as perform 'two-handed' tasks with grip-sensitive attachments.
The robot uses a multi-rotor unmanned aircraft vehicle UAV with power supply through electric lines, allowing the remote operator to view objects and terrain from different viewpoints without a robot-mounted camera.
The arms are set close to the machine's center of gravity for stability and are positioned on the same axis. This gives the robot a larger 360-degree work area, unlike how human shoulder joints work.
At the end of one swing arm, the developers have attached a four-fingered hydraulic hand that can operate in shovel or grip modes, depending on how the operator changes the hand's shape. Like a human hand, the operator can control the hand to adjust to an object's shape and the grip strength needed to complete the task. Sensors give the remote operator a sense of contact, provide precise control as if they are actually touching a target object.
The Osaka University group says the future of their technology will dramatically increase construction equipment’s capacity to deal with large-scale disasters and accidents.
Images: Osaka University