Their work for the last one-and-a-half years was evident on the table as a 42-cm-high humanoid robot walked, hopped, did a head stand and danced in tune to the programmed music. What more, it could climb stairs of three cm height, pick up and drop objects, thereby taking its applications to places such as automotive industries and nuclear power plants.
Developed by three students of VIT University, the humanoid robot – iZac – hogged the spotlight during a demonstration shortly after the inauguration of graVITas 2012 – An International Knowledge Carnival – at the university on Friday.
The team called GRUBS consisting of Naman Jain and Yogesh Mohan Gupta of final year BTech Electronics and Communication Engineering and Rajat Mishra of Electrical and Electronics Engineering have developed the robot, which consists of 19 motors, through four phases which included enhancing the walking algorithms and controlling the robot wirelessly using ZigBee protocol.
What was unique about this robot was that the students made all the parts at the laboratory, noted Vice-Chancellor of the university V. Raju. “The robot is made out of aluminium. The students bought the aluminium, cut into shapes to make the mechanical joints and manufactured the hands, legs at the laboratory,” he said.
Demonstrating the robot, team member Yogesh Mohan Gupta said the maximum speed that the robot could walk is one cm per second. “It can walk sideways and also backwards,” he said. The students demonstrated the stability and flexibility of the robot by displaying its ability to perform dance steps including a head stand and push up.
A peculiar feature of this robot was that it could pick up an object, go to a place and drop it. It can also climb stairs, explained Rajat Mishra.
In the current phase IV, the students were at implementing object detection using image recognition and discussions were on with research and development organisations for tele-operation applications.
A research paper on the project has been accepted by International Journal of Information and Electronics Engineering, while a pre-model application of the paper bagged the first prize at Kshitij 2012 – IIT Kharagpur, said Z.C. Alex, Senior Professor of School of Electronics Engineering of the university, who had supported the team along with two other faculty members.
Professor Raju explained, “This could have applications in nuclear power plants which have radio active materials where human beings cannot go. The robot could climb stairs and pick up radioactive materials and dispose. Similarly, there are robots built to perform brain surgeries.”
In fact, the robot could also find a place in automotive industries , he noted. The project received a grant of Rs. 3.5 lakh under the Research Grant for Engineering Management and Science scheme of the university.
The robot was being showcased during graVITas 2012-the technical fest of the university, a press release added.