Meet Mabel, the QNX-based bipedal robot

Hey, have you ever noticed how researchers like to give their robots personal names? I've written about three QNX-based humanoid robots in this blog, and none of them has a technical appellation like RU-138B. Rather, they're called Cog, Kismet, and Hiro.

I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's because humans simply like to name things. Or maybe it's because giving a humanoid robot a personal name makes it less scary and more, well, human.

Whatever the reason, I've just come across another QNX robot, and guess what: it's called Mabel. Mabel isn't humanoid, but she is bipedal. More specifically, she is a “new platform for the study of bipedal locomotion in robots.”

A joint initiative between the U of Michigan and the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon, Mabel has three stated purposes: to explore a new powertrain design with the objective of improving power efficiency; to encourage development of new feedback control algorithms for running on level surfaces and walking on rough terrain; and to help promote science and technology to younger students.

QNX in control

To acquire data from sensors, compute control actions, and output commands to actuators, Mabel uses a QNX-based realtime computing and data acquisition (DAQ) environment. The software framework for the control system implementation is based on RHexLib, which was originally developed for RHex, another QNX-based robot.

To learn more about Mabel, check out the technical paper, "MABEL: A New Robotic Bipedal Walker and Runner."

BTW, the root for Mabel is amabilis, a Latin word for lovable. Kind of supports the name-your-robot-to-make-it-less-creepy theory, doesn't it? :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's great news.. Happy to hear that QNX is running Robots too ;-) Great Effort! Good Luck for further endeavors.