US-based IHMC Robotics Lab and Boardwalk Robotics have co-developed Nadia, a humanoid robot engineered to possess a high power-to-weight ratio, and have released a video from a test lab showing the robot boxing.
The robot is controlled using virtual reality (VR) control, with the two organisations working together to achieve an extensive range of motion.
Nadia has been developed using ‘innovative’ mechanisms and composite materials, and is named after gymnast Nadia Comăneci.
Nadia relies on a combination of electric and hydraulic actuators for power. It incorporates Moog’s Integrated Smart Actuators (ISAs), and was initially developed in collaboration with the Instituto Italiano de Technologia (IIT)’s Dynamic Legged Systems Lab for the HyQ quadruped.
Additionally, custom electric motors in the pelvis and off-the-shelf motors for the arms support to the robot’s functionality.
Researchers hope that the robot will one day be able to emulate humans’ range of motion, with a particular focus on autonomous and semi-autonomous actions that could be applied in urban settings.
Funding for the Nadia project comes from various sources, including the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Army Research Laboratory (ARL), NASA Johnson Space Center and TARDEC.
The primary objective of the Nadia project is to create highly mobile ground robots capable of navigating indoor environments with the agility required to handle stairs, ladders, and debris in a manner similar to people.
The applications of such technology are diverse, the pair have said, with potential benefits including use in firefighting, disaster response and hazardous scenarios like Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD).
It is hoped that Nadia could extend the reach of human presence without exposing people to unnecessary or further risk.
With an emphasis on flexibility, Nadia is reportedly capable of one of the highest ranges of motion among humanoid robots, with its motions spanning 29 joints.
This flexibility, IMHC added, means Nadia is equipped to access locations that were previously inaccessible to traditional robots and affords it heightened levels of mobility.
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