UCLA professor Dennis Hong leads the development of more practical and functional humanoid robots for the U.S. Navy.
The professor announced on Feb. 9 that the Office of Naval Research of the U.S. Navy would invest US$1.6 million and four years into Project ARPIOS, a project of his research lab RoMeLa. ARPIOS is a humanoid robot improving on the professor’s SAFFiR (Thor) for firefighting and disaster prevention purposes.
The ARPIOS is 160 cm tall and weighs 38.5 kg, 18 cm shorter and 24.5 kg lighter than the SAFFiR. The robot's arms, waist, and neck can be folded up into a block that measures 69 cm, 60 cm, by 64 cm. It even comes with wheels to facilitate transport by a single person.
In addition, the the ARPIOS uses series elastic actuator (SEA) technology so that elasticity can be used in controlling the robot’s positions and forces. The technology is different in that not just the positions of the joints, but the positions and forces are controlled at the same time, like muscles. SEA is essential for the robot to be capable of moving on uneven surfaces.