LOCH: A New Robot is Born

Be it a child or an adult, robots have always been fascinating. We come across various science fiction movies which depict human-like robots. For decades researches have been on to create similar robots in real life. With every successful project we can see efforts inching closer towards reality. Recently a brand new robot was revealed by the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the Nanyang Technological University.

LOCH (Low Cost Humanoid) is claimed to be Singapore’s most sophisticated full-scale robot. It has been revealed that work on the LOCH had been going on since 2008 but was only recently presented before the world. A team headed by Professor Ming Xie has also created a corporate spin-off in order to market its technologies.

As mentioned, LOCH is a full-scale humanoid figure and therefore we find its size to resemble an average human being. It stands 175 cm tall and weighs 80 kg. That is a little too heavy but that may be owing to all the hardware used to create it. In matters of movement it possess around 40 per cent freedom due to its movable body parts, the hands, arms, legs, feet, waist and neck.

LOCH does not possess human instincts and sensory organs but it has been equipped with a range of sensors to help gain understanding of its surroundings. Take a look at all that he possesses – 3-axis gyro/accelerometer in the trunk, 6-axis force torque sensors in the wrists and ankles, pressure sensors in the palm and all fingers, six pressure sensors in the soles of both feet, and three microphones. Now how does LOCH see his surroundings? Care has been taken to incorporate this facility as well. Like humans the visual sensors are located in the head. The entire ensemble includes a monocular camera, stereo cameras, a distance sensor and a laser range finder. One could hardly take a wrong step with so many sensors on board.

Merely creating a robot was not the end of the story. It had to be put to certain tests to check whether it would function appropriately or not. Tests revealed that LOCH could move on a flat surface, climb up and climb down stairs, maintain a perfect balance while landing on a surface and also against external forces.

To sum up, LOCH takes us a lot closer to what we see only in science fiction. Those times are not very far when we can actually get to see robots that can function like humans. Researches are on in all parts of the world. It is just a matter of wait and watch!

I too need a robot that can help me in household chores! What do you think? Check out some other designs in the same category – Personal Telepresence Robot, Honda Robot Asimo and Robo Hobo.

Via: Plastic Pals