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19th November 2018

Humanoid robot can install drywall by itself

Researchers at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have demonstrated a humanoid robot prototype – called HRP-5P – designed to autonomously perform heavy labour or work in hazardous environments.

The machine builds upon the success of earlier versions, by featuring a greater degree of autonomy and much more complicated movements. It can lift and install sheets of drywall without human assistance – using a combination of environmental measurement, object recognition and full-body motion planning.

According to its creators, HRP-5P could be used as a development platform in collaboration between industry and academia, to accelerate R&D toward practical application of humanoid robots at building construction sites. It also has potential for the assembly of large structures such as aircraft and ships. This could help to address the problem of Japan's declining labour force, which is likely to become a major demographic crisis in the coming years.


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Credit: AIST


The robot stands 182 cm (5' 11.5") tall and weighs 101 kg (223 lb). With a total of 37 degrees of freedom – including eight in its arms – it features the most human-like motions of any machine in the HRP series to date. Using both arms, HRP-5P can handle gypsum boards and plywood panels measuring approximately 1.8 metres across and weighing up to 13 kg (29 lb).

Using head-mounted sensors, the robot constantly acquires 3-D measurements of the surrounding environment. Even if the field of view is blocked, it will continue to operate and move, using a laser-measured map of the construction site made in advance, as shown in the video below. HRP-5P can also detect object regions even against low-contrast backgrounds or under dim lighting.




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