Sunday, October 17, 2004


I just recently went to Fujitsu's research centre in Atsugi. This is the home of HOAP-2, a toddler-sized bipedal robot that has been the focus of research for Fumio Nagashima and his lab for some years. The robot has impressive walking abilities, in terms of both speed and agility. It also uses a special kind of algorithm to walk. While most robots calculate their gait using a system called ZMP (Zero Moment Point) the area where the gravity and inertia acting on the robot meet the ground. Most robots try to keep this point within an area in which the robot is known to be stable. The calculations are, however, very complex and require a large amount of computing power. HOAP-2 by contrast uses diffrerent calculations using an NP (numerical pertubation) CPG (central pattern generator) whose equations are based on fluid dynamics. This system is much less intensive allowing HOAP-2 to calcuate its steps using nothing more than a pentium III. HOAP-2 is already on sale to commercial and academic researchers. You can find out more, including some nice movies here.


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