As technology is developing at a stunning rate every single day, it was unavoidable for progress not to be made in the field of humanoid robotics. Meet Walk-Man, the helpful robot.
Developed by a team of scientists at the Italian Institute of Technology and University of Pisa, Walk-Man is an anthropomorphic robot designed to be helpful in case of emergencies. Given the ability to both operate human tools and navigate tight spaces using all of its body, Walk-man is going to prove invaluable to search and rescue operations deemed too dangerous for humans.
Lead researcher on the project, Nikos Tsagarakis, claims that the robot was given its human shape not only to help it grasp more easily tools designed for humans, but also so it can more easily access spaces designed with the shape of a human being in mind.
What makes the invention truly special, more even than the ability to operate human tools, is its ability to maintain its balance no matter the situation, using both the lower half of its body (as most of the current robots do), and its upper half. It was designed specifically to be able to navigate rough terrains using all its limbs.
Coming in at 6 feet tall, 260 pounds, and with arm span of 6.56 feet, the anthropomorphic robot also features a stereo vision system as well as a rotating 3D laser scanner that will assist it in scanning the environment and coming up with any details a first look from a human would most likely miss.
The long-term goals for the unit are to eventually be able to move autonomously; however for now, the Walk-Man is controlled by an operator. The advanced equipment on its head allows it to send data in real time to the aforementioned operator, which will then proceed to control the robot.
Nikos Tsagarakis also insists to mention that the robot was not built for speed, thing which is very obvious due to its intended purpose. Were it to move at an increased speed, more damage would be potentially done to an already unstable environment.
As made obvious by all of its specifications, the Walk-Man is designed to be the perfect tool for rescue operations. It will be deployed in cases which are deemed too dangerous for a human to go in, and thanks to its design, it will be able to reach and return with any victims trapped in hazardous terrains.
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