Did you know that the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence is developing a robot chimpanzee to explore the surface of the moon? It’s true!
Called the iStruct, and nicknamed Charlie, this robot chimp was created to be an all-terrain explorer. Like a real chimp, it is designed to be able to walk on two legs, or all four. This would allow it to adapt to different ground conditions, as well as be able to stand up to see over potential obstructions. An added benefit is that bipedal travel is faster and more agile. Charlie will be able to choose which mode of travel is best, based on the terrain ahead of it.
According to the iStruct’s official website, “The aim of the project iStruct is to develop a robotic system as well as biologically inspired structural components which, if applied on the robotic system, effectively improve the locomotion and mobility characteristics. In order to achieve this goal, an improved perception of the environment and the own condition is needed. The structures designed and build are as self-contained as possible with regard to sensing, sensor preprocessing, control and communication. The biologically inspired robot itself is an ideal test platform for the foot and spine structures. These structures can extend the already existing locomotion behaviors of a robot and are used contemporaneous as carrier and sensor system. This way, different functionalities are united in one construction unit.”
You can see videos of Charlie in action below:
As you can see, Charlie the iStruct appears to be quite versatile. Next stop, the moon!