Japanese researchers at the Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) research center have developed a prototype humanoid robot, the HRP-5P, designed to autonomously perform heavy labor in hazardous environments.
Standing just under 6-feet tall and clocking in at 222 lbs, the HRP-5P has “unsurpassed physical capabilities,” according to Phys.org, and is fitted with an array of sensors in order to fully assess its environment to perform various tasks.
In one demonstration, the HRP-5P shows of its skills grabbing standard 77 lb. boards of drywall typically used in construction.
In order to complete the task, the robot must:
- Generate a 3-D map of the surrounding environment, detect objects, and approach the workbench.
- Lean against the workbench, slide one of the stacked gypsum boards to separate it, and then lift it.
- While recognizing the surrounding environment, carry the gypsum board to the wall.
- Lower the gypsum board and stand it against the wall.
- Using high-precision AR markers, recognize and pick up a tool.
- Holding a furring strip to keep HRP-5P itself steady, screw the gypsum board into the wall.
Aside from construction, AIST’s robot has compelling applications at aircraft facilities, shipyards or any other environment in which heavy things need to be lifted or manipulated – particularly in hazardous environments.
AIST collaborated with several private companies in the development of the HRP series, including Kawada Robotics, which has assisted in the design of several prototypes leading up to the 5P. HRP-2, for example, was able to walk, lie down, stand up, walk on narrow paths, and other navigational maneuvers. Its successor, the HRP-3 was able to walk on slippery surfaces and tighten bridge bolts via remote control.
The 5P marked a significant leap over its predecessors – employing technology from Honda Motor Co, and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), the latest and greatest from AIST can work in “unstructured environments,” and excels at “targeting full-body motion planning based on environmental model acquisition that enables humanoid robots to adapt to unknown environments.”