Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
ESCHER (Electric Series Compliant Humanoid for Emergency Response) designed, fabricated, and assembled by the engineering students at Virginia Tech. ESCHER is being designed to support a variety of disaster response and search-and-rescue tasks that will allow robots to bear the burden of dangerous environments instead of humans. The robot will perform many tasks autonomously while still allowing for human interaction in critical areas.
ESCHER is an electromechanical robot that measures 1.8 m (5' 10") high, but remains lightweight at 75 kg (165 lbs). Its efficient design permits untethered operation for extended periods of up to 2 hours. The robot supports a multi-spectral sensor suite capable of mapping harsh environments. An extensible perception system provides environment modeling capable of fusing sensor data to identify obstacles and tools, even in obscured or fire-filled environments. This enables supervisory and semi-autonomous operation of the robot. ESCHER's autonomous systems run in parallel; one instance alongside the operator to enable planning and communicating complex actions in limited communication scenarios, and a second instance onboard for safe-guarded and high autonomy operations. Impedance controlled arms and hands work with high level planning and whole body control to provide safe, robust manipulation. Team VIGIR is collaborating on software development for the project.
An interdisciplinary team of researchers at Virginia Tech has been assembled to design and develop a new humanoid for disaster response. The team includes Prof. Tomo Furakawa, Prof. Brian Lattimer, and Prof. Alex Leonessa leading a team of 18 graduate students and 10 undergraduate students from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science. Virginia Tech was previously involved in the DARPA Urban Challenge and placed 3rd competition. In addition, Virginia Tech was one of the top 10 finalists in the Multi-Autonomous Ground-robotic International Challenge 2010 (MAGIC2010).
Team details last modified: May 28, 2015