ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The University of Central Florida is embracing the future of robotics and introducing a cutting-edge robot dog named “Tape Measure” to expand research opportunities for UCF students and faculty.
The doglike robot, manufactured by Boston Dynamics, will be used by students to research concepts such as human and robot interactions and to develop new robot tasks and applications that benefit humanity, according to a new release.
“Tape Measure offers almost limitless capabilities,” said Crystal Maraj, Ph.D., a research assistant professor at UCF. “It is programmed to perform a range of specific tasks, but it can also be customized to execute new tasks. That is where the learning comes in for us and the robot.”
The robot, equipped with state-of-the-art technology including a LiDAR (light detection and ranging) system for navigation, boasts preprogrammed quadruped navigation to ensure balance and autonomous navigation. Students at UCF will not only conduct research and gather data but also augment Tape Measure’s functionalities, pushing the boundaries of its potential.
“It allows our students to see how their work can be applied in different ways,” mentioned Grace Bochenek, Ph.D., director of UCF SMST. “Research is often not a linear line, and we build on each other’s work. This robot, although different than our other projects, integrates many of the same principles. It is a continuation, not a culmination, of the technology.”
Additionally, UCF’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) has incorporated 15 smaller, commercially available robot dogs provided by Unitree Robotics, enhancing hands-on training and serving as modern teaching and research tools for students. This integration marks a significant step towards shaping the future of robotics, empowering students to actively contribute to groundbreaking discoveries.
Students are gearing up to propose their robot research projects involving Tape Measure to faculty in the coming weeks, with project execution slated for later in the year.
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