Introducing EVA, the University of Edinburgh’s newest hybrid robotic platform
- Video: Eva - new mobile robot for human-robot interaction
- Introducing EVA, the University of Edinburgh’s newest hybrid robotic platform. EVA is an efficient and versatile robotic assistant. By using a mobile base for locomotion, we overcome the challenges of biped motion and achieve a safer and more robust platform. This one-of-a-kind humanoid robotic platform will be used by students and researchers at the University of Edinburgh, to conduct cutting edge research on machine learning algorithms for optimal control, planning and manipulation.
EVA is a hybrid mobile humanoid robot, designed and developed within the SLMC group. She is composed of a Kawada Robotics Nextage robot placed on top of a mobile base robot from Donkey Motion by Imetron. The Nextage robot is designed to work side by side with people, and liberate humans from menial and repetitive tasks. The mobile base is a large platform that utilises four mecanum wheels to achieve omnidirectional motion. By attaching the Nextage robot to a mobile base, we allow the Nextage platform to move around, pick and place objects in different locations, deliver items, and achieve much more than a stationary robot. The use of a mobile base instead of robotic legs overcomes the current challenges of biped motion, and creates a safer and more robust platform.
After integrating EVA in software and hardware, we implemented whole-body control so the two separate robots would move as one. We used weighted inverse kinematics to add a higher cost for base motion, meaning that EVA will first attempt to perform tasks using her arms, and utilise the base only if the desired end effector position exceeds joint limits. In the video demo, you can see this in action as EVA tries to reach the biscuits using the span of her arms, and only if they are too far does she move the base. This is how humans interact with the world, and we aimed to imitate this motion.
The mobility and versatility of EVA make her suitable to assist humans in a wide variety of situations. In a hospital setting, she could reduce the stress and workload of nurses and doctors by delivering items and interacting with patients. EVA could also be used for nuclear decommissioning, personal assistance, caregiving, entertainment and education, to name a few.
This one-of-a-kind humanoid robotic platform will be used by students and researchers at the University of Edinburgh, to conduct cutting-edge research on machine learning algorithms for optimal control, planning and manipulation. By advancing the capabilities of assistive robots, to learn from and work effectively with humans, we hope to improve the quality of life for many.