Quadcopter with Quadruped or Quadruped with Quadcopter?


This pair is part of a research venture at the Legged Robots Autonomous Systems Lab, ETH Zurich. The legged robot is StarIETH. This is a robot that can autonomously walk, climb and run over any terrain. The “Starl” portion stands for the Springy Tetrapod with Articulated Robotic Legs.

Last year in Wired, Jeremy Kingsley called out some special points about StarlETH’s legs: They can mimic how muscles store, release and transfer energy.

“With fine control of its movement,” he wrote, “it handles rough terrain and responds well to external disturbances—crouching and shifting its body towards a gust of wind or counteracting a swinging motion. Unlike other quadrupeds, StarlETH uses electric motors instead of bulky hydraulics—so it’s sleek and nimble (40cm tall and 26kg). Although other quadrupeds excel in select areas, StarlETH tries to have it all—energy efficiency, versatility, speed and robustness.”

Quadcopter is powered via legged robot.

This robot duo is an example of how robots can work together as a team and remain “tethered” to each other virtually. By launching the quadcopter from the jolly little platform you get robotic system that can move itself into place and then use a flying robot to check things up on higher ground. It’s also the cutest robotic video you’ll see today.

Other than serving up inspiration for a G-rated animation blockbuster, what can this video demo tell us about potential applications? Kelsey D. Atherton in Popular Science said, “It’s easy to see how this could be turned to rescue work: a powerful dogbot walker could crawl over rubble into a collapsed building, and then once inside a building release a quadcopter from its back to explore difficult-to-reach places.”

Everything you need to know about this video is that it’s a quadcopter taking a quadruped for a walk. Or the other way around.

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