Robot Dogs are typically seen walking on four legs. After all, the quadruped robots are made specifically to stay on all fours as successful bipedal robotics require more advanced hardware.
Despite mechanical differences, a team of scientists have turned commercial robot dogs into bipedal machines. Just like a real dog, these robots can prop themselves up on two legs, but should they?
Reported by IEEE Spectrum, scientists at the 2022 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems hacked commercial products to become bipedal. The scientists were able to take an “off-the-shelf” device and transform it into a multi-modal device.
The robots do require a new part to be added in order to make walking on two legs stable. In a hilariously simple move, a 3D-printed stick has been placed in each of the robots’ shins.
However, the ability to move on two legs is inherently a software function. The scientists trained the robot to walk upright in a simulation that was then transferred onto the real machine.
The result is a robot dog that is struggling to walk upright, but still performs admirably. Like a real dog hopping around on its hind legs, the use of just two of its limbs is wobbly. It’s fighting to find a centre of mass that it was never designed to have, even if the 3D-printed parts help to alleviate issues.
In a YouTube video showing the robot moving on two legs, the robot moves in a very slow, crawling pace. Like the monster from It Follows, the robot dog slowly but surely makes its way to its mark, shuffling like an old man who’s soiled his pants.
It’s far from effective, but it is possible, and that’s science at work. Sure, you may not want your quadruped robot to move on two legs, but it can if a team of scientists decide to make it! And that’s pretty neat.
Would we suggest doing this to any robot you may own? Absolutely not, but you also probably don’t own one. As it turns out, not that many do, but those who do are turning them into Pokémon!