RoboCop’s firefighting counterpart
Researchers from the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) in Italy have spent a good five years developing a humanoid robot for firefighting as part of a European collaboration including partners in Switzerland, Germany and Belgium. But does "Walk-Man" live up to his tantalizing name?21 Mar 2018
At 1.85 meters tall and weighing 100 kilos, Walk-Man certainly measures up well for the job. Though slightly less than agile than his name might suggest, with 32 motors, four force and torque sensors and two acceleration sensors to control his balance, Walk-Man's international team of developers is confident he'll soon be up and running - combating natural disasters and fighting fires.
Walk-Man's body is constructed mainly from lightweight metal, iron and plastic. His fire-resistant arms are designed to each carry up to ten kilos, so admittedly his fictional role models RoboCop and Iron Man still have the upper hand there. Once he's ready for active service, Walk-Man will mimic his human operator's every move. However, unlike Iron Man, the operator isn't encased in his frame, but instead wears a sensory suit that transmits all his movements - at a safe distance from the hazards inherent in Walk-Man’s missions-to-be. A head camera, 3D laser scanner and microphones will help the operator keep his bearings, while chemical sensors identify any toxic substances.
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (16163 Genoa, Italy)
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