Centauro – a new search-and-rescue robot with four-wheeled legs and two karate-chopping hands is myth-inspired robotics. Researchers at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia built the new 5-foot-tall, 200 pound robot to ultimately serve as a disaster response robot.
Centauro is made of lightweight metals, like aluminum, draped in a 3D-printed plastic skin. Centauro is wholly a human-controlled machine that has a battery life of up to 2.5 hours. Its flexible design helps robot take different postures with its rotatable hip, knee, ankle, and six limbs with six degrees of freedom.
Nikos Tsagarakis, one of the researchers who worked on the project said, “Centauro was designed to match human strength, power, and physical sturdiness to execute heavy, high-impact physical interactions… also to demonstrate motion agility close to that of a human.”
The six-limb unique design follows the shape of a centaur – a creature, according to Greek mythology, had an upper body that looked like a human’s and the lower body and legs resembled that of a horse. Centauro, with its four wheeled-legs, is more stable than a humanoid bot, and its forward-facing arms can manipulate or destroy obstacles encountered during a search-and-rescue mission.
Centauro is an upgraded version of the already successful centaur-robot Momaro, which was one of the top performers at the DARPA’s Robotics Challenge in 2015 – held to test the ability of robots in the rescue mission. With the design intact, the researchers, now, will have to figure out how best to control it and testing it against ever-more difficult challenges.