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Meet our robots!

My 7 species of robot,
See STriDER, MARS, DARwIn, Discovery Channel


SAFFiR: Shipboard Autonomous Fire-Fighting Robot

Top of Actuators

SAFFiR is a bio-inspired bipedal robot designed for finding and extinguishing fires aboard naval ships. SAFFiR is powered by custom linear serial elastic actuators that incorporate custom titanium springs. It will utilize an advanced sensor suite to navigate the difficult environment caused by smoke, heat, and water vapor. SAFFiR is designed to use many available fire suppression methods including hoses, fire extinguishers, and PEAT canisters. It will be protected by high-temperature thermal shielding, and is designed to traverse a ship environment including difficulties such as stepping over sills and walking in sea state conditions. This project is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR)

THALeR: Tripedal Hyper Altitudinal Legged Robot

SMALeR standing
SMALeR body

The THALeR project (pronounced "taller") is a research study in how vertical-height-scaling affects robot mobility, specifically robots of the same form as STriDeR. The key advantages of being very tall are being able to step over obstacles as well as being able to traverse naturally rough terrain. Our design approach is to simultaneously answer two codependent questions: How should the robot walk and what physical design is the best for walking? We are applying advanced computational techniques to study the complex system dynamics and gain insight to invariant techniques of good walking. We will be first validating our simulation results on a 2[m] prototype named "SMALeR" and then extending to a 10[m] tall future prototype.

DARwIn OP: Open Platform Humanoid Robot for Research and Education


DARwIn-OP: An Open Platform, Miniature Humanoid Robot Platform for Research, Education and Outreach. The objective of this annual workshop is to; introduce DARwIn-OP to the humanoid robotics community to broaden the DARwIn-OP project and form a user community; train the users for use in research, education, and outreach activities; disseminate results of the usage of DARwIn-OP in the classroom; and to obtain feedback from the users for future improvements.

STriDER: Self-excited Tripedal Dynamic Experimental Robot

STriDER (Self-excited Tripedal Dynamic Experimental Robot) is a novel three-legged walking machine that exploits the concept of actuated passive dynamic locomotion to dynamically walk with high energy efficiency and minimal control. Unlike other passive dynamic walking machines, this unique tripedal locomotion robot is inherently stable with its tripod stance, can change directions, and is relatively easy to implement, making it practical to be used for real life applications.

CHARLI: Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence

CHARLI is the United States' first full-size autonomous humanoid robot. It's mechanical design has allowed experimentation into the effects of different mechanical configurations, mostly in the legs, on the performance of bipedal walking and balancing. CHARLI is capable of walking in all directions as well as turning, kicking, and performing gestures and simple upper body manipulation tasks. A variety of hands and grippers have been experimented with for various objects or goals.

IMPASS: Intelligent Mobility Platform with Active Spoke System

IMPASS (Intelligent Mobility Platform with Active Spoke System) is a wheel-leg hybrid locomotion robot with high mobility for unstructured terrain. Utilizing rimless wheels with individually actuated spokes, it can follow the contour of uneven surfaces like tracks and step over large obstacles like legged vehicles while retaining the simplicity of wheels. Since it lacks the complexity of legs and has a large effective (wheel) diameter, this highly adaptive system can move over extreme terrain with ease while maintaining respectable travel speeds, and thus has great potential for search-and-rescue missions, scientific exploration, and anti-terror response applications.

MARS: Multi Appendage Robotic System

MARS (Multi-Appendage Robotic System) is a hexapedal robotic platform capable of omni-directional walking and of performing manipulation tasks. Patterned after the LEMUR IIb (Legged Excursion Mechanical Utility Rover), the latest in a series of hexapedal robots developed at NASA JPL, it is developed for autonomous inspection and maintenance tasks on the exterior of space structures and vehicles in zero gravity environments. MARS is also a general research platform to study mobility over difficult environments such as costal terrain and uneven surfaces.

CIRCA: Climbing Inspection Robot with Compressed Air

CIRCA (Climbing Inspection Robot with Compressed Air) is a unique climbing robot that utilizes McKibben air muscles to climb scaffolding structures for inspection tasks. By connecting multiple CIRCA modules together in different configurations, different methods of locomotion can be achieved. For example, a 'doughnut' configuration would be useful for climbing a pole, and a helical configuration would be useful for ground locomotion.

HyDRAS: Hyper-redundant Discrete Robotic Articulated Serpentine

Unique snake-like robot that utilizes a new way of locomotion to climb pole or scaffolding structures.

DARwIn: Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence

DARwIn (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence) is a family of fully autonomous humanoid robots capable of bipedal walking and performing human like motions. Developed at the Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory (RoMeLa) at Virginia Tech, DARwIn is a research platform for studying robot locomotion and autonomous behaviors, and also the base platform for Virginia Tech’s entry to the RoboCup competition.

WSL: Whole Skin Locomotion

The Whole Skin Locomotion is a novel locomotion mechanism for mobile robots inspired by the motility mechanisms of single celled organisms that use cytoplasmic streaming to generate pseudopods for locomotion. The embodiment of WSL works by way of an elongated toroid which turns itself inside out in a single continuous motion, effectively generating the overall motion of the cytoplasmic streaming ectoplasmic tube in amoebae.

MiniHUBO: Miniature Humanoid Robot

MiniHUBO (Miniature Humanoid Robot) is an small affordable adaptable robot platform. MiniHUBO is a miniaturized version of the HUBO developed by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). The goal of MiniHUBO is to develop an affordable and open-ended research platform to expand knowledge in the human robotics field. MiniHUBO is designed to be simple to fabricate and assemble. MiniHUBO is Designed with a flexible control unit capable of easily integrating sensors to increase capability.

DAVID: Demonstrative Automobile for the Visually Impaired Driver

DAVID (Demonstrative Automobile for the Visually Impaired Driver) is the world's very first, and only vehicle than can be driven by the blind, developed in response to an initiative proposed by the National Federation of the Blind (Blind Driver Challenge). Through the development and integration of novel non-visual driver interfaces on an existing vehicle platform, the goal is to provide the blind with a degree of independence that they have never before experienced.

RAPHaEL: Robotic Air Powered Hand with Elastic Ligaments

RAPHaEL (Robotic Air Powered Hand with Elastic Ligaments) is a dexterous robotic hand powered by compressed air with a novel actuator in the shape of an accordion like corrugated tubing. Each finger of the hand is actuated by three actuator segments connected to a single compressed air line. All three segments of the finger moves as compressed air enters the actuator triggered by a solenoid, and the finger returns to its original position by elastic members attached to the finger when the air is cut off. The force, position, and compliance of the finger is controlled by a electronic air pressure regulator through feedback from the bending position sensors and force sensors at the tip of each fingers. This mechanism significantly simplifies the design, control, and implementation of a dexterous hand and dramatically lowers the cost enabling it to be a cost effective practical solution for use in prosthesis.

CIVT: Cam-based Infinitely Variable Transmission

The Cam-based Function Generating Transmission is a novel mechanism that takes two inputs, an angular rotational input and a ‘gear ratio’ selection, and outputs an angular rotation with a variable speed ratio. This transmission has unique characteristics such as generating specific functional speed ratio outputs including dwells, for a constant velocity input.
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