Unitree's AlienGo Quadruped Can Now Wield a Lightsaber

Unitree Robotics, well-known for offering inexpensive legged robots together with questionable Star Wars-themed promotional movies, has introduced a model new, custom-made, 6-degree-of-freedom robotic arm supposed to be mounted on the again of its bigger quadrupeds. Additionally, it’ll save humanity from Sith from Mars, or one thing.

This, we must always level out, just isn’t the primary time Unitree has used The Power in a promotional video, though their first try was very Darkish Facet and the second try appeared to be principally an apology for the primary. The newest video right here appears to have landed squarely on the Mild Facet, which is nice, however I’m kinda confused concerning the suggestion that the baddies come from Mars (?) and most people are killed (??) and the reply is a few kind of “Tremendous AI” (???). I assume Unitree must launch extra merchandise in order that we are able to find out how this story ends.

Anyway, concerning the arm: there are two variations, the Z1 Air and the Z1 Professional, constructed with {custom} motors utilizing harmonic reducers for low backlash and torque management. They’re virtually precisely the identical, besides that the Professional weighs 4.3kg reasonably than 4.1kg, and has a payload of 3-5kg reasonably than 2kg. Max attain is 0.7m, with 0.1mm repeatability. The worth for the Air model is “about $6600,” and it’s suitable with “different cellular robots” as effectively.

It’s essential to notice that simply having an arm on a robotic is arguably the straightforward half—it’s utilizing the arm that’s the laborious half, within the sense that it’s a must to program it to do what you want it to do. A powerful, light-weight, and well-integrated arm definitely makes that job simpler, however it stays to be seen what will probably be concerned in getting the arm to do helpful stuff. I don’t wish to draw too many comparisons to Boston Dynamics right here, however Spot’s arm comes with autonomous and semi-autonomous behaviors built-in, permitting in any other case complicated actions to be leveraged by industrial finish customers. It’s not but clear how Unitree is dealing with this.

We’re on the level now with robots normally that in lots of instances, software program is the differentiator reasonably than {hardware}, and also you get what you pay for. That stated, generally what you need or want is a extra inexpensive system to work with, and do not forget that Unitree’s AlienGo prices beneath $10k. There’s definitely a requirement for inexpensive {hardware}, and whereas it will not be able to be dropped into industrial functions simply but, it’s good to see choices like these available on the market.

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