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Isamu: a humanoid robot with a Pentium + RTLinux brain

Jul 20, 2001 — by Rick Lehrbaum — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Meet Isamu, the humanoid robot

Isamu stands 53 inches tall, weighs 121 pounds, and walks at over one mile per hour. Not only that, Isamu climbs up and down stairs, carries 4-pound objects in its hand-like grippers, and even recognizes human faces via its dual-camera stereo vision system.

Oh, and Isamu has a “brain” that consists of a dual-Pentium computer running RTLinux.

Where did Isamu come from?

Isamu is a joint project of the University of Tokyo's Jouhou System Kougaku Laboratory (JSK Lab) and the Aircraft and Mechanical Systems Division of Kawada Industries, Inc. (Tokyo, Japan). To date, the two organizations have teamed up to build two Isamu robots — dubbed “H6” and “H7”.

The purpose of the project is to develop test-beds for research into a wide range of applications for “human interactive motion control technology”. For example, Kawada Industries intends to use Isamu as a platform to explore potential commercial applications in markets like construction systems, disaster relief, aids for the handicapped, rehabilitation and training devices, and amusement.

More details

In an effort to mimic a degree of human-like movement, Isamu is endowed with thirty-two degrees of freedom — six for each leg, one for each foot (“toe” joint), seven for each arm, one for each gripper, two for the neck, and three for the eyes.

The onboard computer, equipped with dual 750MHz PentiumIII processors running RTLinux, provides real-time servo and balance compensation, and coordinates the robot's 3D vision and motion-planning software modules.

Thanks to an ample battery pack, a wireless Ethernet interface, and the powerful onboard computer, Isamu can operate without the need for external cables or constant human intervention. A joystick can be used to control the robot's movements when direct human control is desired.

Isamu's bipedal walk control system software was developed by the Inoue-Inaba Laboratory, while the hardware and robotics structures, including the servo-based level control system, were developed by Kawada Industries. Kawada applied aircraft technologies to the body frame, resulting in a strong and light structure.

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