China’s raucous humanoid robot club has just admitted a new member.
LimX Dynamics (逐际动力), a general-purpose robot startup, today released a video showing its first-generation humanoid robot model CL-1 in action.
In the video, the robot, whose key specs such as height, weight and degrees of freedom remain unknown, is seen adjusting its own posture, before stepping onto the flight of stairs with fluidity.
In an apparent attempt at gauging the kinematics of its humanoid model, Shenzhen-based LimX Dynamics then put CL-1 through a series of other tests.
Following the curb test, CL-1 ascends several flights of stairs seemingly effortlessly. It then makes its way down a 15-degree slope from the top of the staircase.
Foray into humanoid robotics
As though the tests were not enough to prove the dexterity of the robot, CL-1 is also let loose in outdoor environments, without harnesses or props, to see how it can cope with complex real-world terrains.
The debut of CL-1 marks the firm’s foray into humanoid robotics, which has by now evolved into one of the most-watched and perhaps also hyped tech segments in China this year.
Integration of technologies
Founded only last year, LimX Dynamics attributed the agility and dynamics of CL-1 to a close integration of multiple core technologies.
They include real-time perception, gait planning, locomotion control, hardware and data stream, according to a company press release.
Among them, real-time perception takes the most credit for giving its humanoid robot the ability to climb and descend stairs with ease — a challenge that has tripped up many humanoid developers.
It’s common to see humanoid robots being put through their paces on flat terrains or made to transcend slight slopes, but staircases are a much tougher barrier, requiring strong capabilities in real-time integrated perception and self-balancing control.
Real-time terrain perception
LimX Dynamics touts in the official release that “CL-1 is one of the few humanoid robots around the world that achieves dynamic stair climbing based on real-time terrain perception.”
This is due largely to “LimX Dynamics’ advanced motion control and AI algorithms, along with proprietary high-performing actuators and hardware system.”
CL-1 owes its birth to a point-foot bipedal called P1, also developed by LimX Dynamics. This is intended to serve as a “stable, reliable and efficient platform” for the development and test of motion control algorithms for humanoid robots.
As the company continuously worked on software and hardware iterations, it managed to convert a half-finished prototype into the full-size humanoid biped today that is CL-1.
Commenting on the contraption’s application scenario, the firm said CL-1 will be progressively deployed in both corporate-oriented and consumer-facing scenarios.
As with other humanoid robot models that came out this year, a shared envisioned function of these devices is to carry out tedious, dreary and hazardous work in lieu of humans.
Specifically, LimX Dynamics said CL-1 will be tasked with handling hazardous scenarios, high-end services, automobile manufacturing and in-home services.
It’s unclear how far the startup is from attaining these long-term goals, and what steps it plans to take to shorten the lab-to-market phase.
LimX Dynamics has yet to release a timetable on mass production and commercialization for CL-1.