Walking robot developed at AGH UST wins the RobotSprint category at international contest

‘The Walking Thread’

photos from private archive of Integra AGH UST Student Society

‘The Walking Thread’ walking robot won the RobotSprint category at the ‘Robotic Arena 2017’ International Competition. The robot was designed and developed by AGH UST’s IntegraWalkers Group  part of Integra AGH UST Student Society.

‘The Walking Thread’ is a walking hexapod. With its six legs, each of which has been provided with three degrees of freedom, the structure resembles a mechanical spider. Many of its parts have been 3D-printed. The design has been equipped with 18 motors and 2 cameras for identification of encountered obstacles. The robot is controlled through an Xbox 360 Console pad. The construction of the hexapod, which took almost an entire year to be completed, was accomplished by Paweł Nowak, Maciej Stępień, Piotr Zgajewski, Monika Król and Mateusz Moskała – Automatic Control and Robotics students of AGH UST’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Automatics, Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering.

The RobotSprint category won by the AGH UST’s project was a new feature at this year’s Robotic Arena. Instead of conventional wheels, the designs competing in this category had to be provided with legs, which explains why the field was full of anthropomorphic humanoid robots and hexapods. Their task was to negotiate a 3-metre run and short as it seems, the distance was a real challenge for both the designers and the robots.

The beginning of the race brought an unexpected hitch as one of the hexapod’s 18 motors failed. The construction team decided to use clamps in order to firm up the part of the robot’s leg affected by the faulty motor. Despite these initial difficulties, ‘The Walking Thread’ made it to the start line. The robot missed the last few meters to complete the run at the first attempt, yet the next one turned out to be far more successful – the AGH UST’s team were able to boost the robot’s speed, which in the final run enabled the robot to cover the distance in 27.84 sec. ‘The Walking Thread’ outclassed all rivals and came first.

Paweł Nowak, who coordinated the construction of the hexapod, said: This competition clearly demonstrated to us how complex a task proper automation and configuration of robot mobility is.

The design developed by AGH UST’s students entered also the Freestyle category, in which it competed with anthropomorphic humanoid robots. The Integra Team demonstrated the robot’s capabilities in front of the audience as well as the Grand Jury. Walking like a spider, ‘The Walking Thread’ won the hearts of the audience, as attested by the long ovation it received.

In addition, during a compulsory presentation of the design, which lasted a few hours, the audience could observe how the robot operates and ask questions to the design team. ‘The Walking Thread’, thanks to its unconventional way of moving as well as the user control capability made the strongest impression on the youngest among the audience.

‘Robotic Arena’ is organised by KoNaR Robotics Society affiliated with the Department of Cybernetics and Robotics at Wrocław University of Science and Technology’s Faculty of Electronics. The event is one of 10 largest international robotic competitions. This year’s 10th edition attracted over 200 designs, which competed in 14 categories.