Real-Life MacGyver Robot Facts That Might Surprise You

Ashley | 15 - 02 - 2021
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With the title “Robots Using Environment Objects as Tools: The ‘MacGyver’ Paradigm for Mobile Manipulation”, a video has been submitted to the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. It features robots with problem-solving abilities using the objects that are present within their environment. These are based on a concept called ETPA(Environment T Aware Planning). 

Georgio Institute of Technology researchers are designing a robot that has the ability to solve urgent problems using objects that are present in its environment. This robot is the invention of Georgio Tech Assistant Professor Mike Stilman, head of the institute’s Humanoid Robots Lab. 

The machine was designed to dub the MacGyver Robot which was a famous TV character

Who played the role of MacGyver in the 1985 original series ‘MacGyver’?
  • A. Richard Dean Anderson
  • B. Michael Shanks
  • C. Christopher Judge
  • D. None of the Above

The ETPA Concept

As per the ETPA concept, the robots have the ability to assess and select individual elements that are present in the environment that would be helpful to complete a specific task. 

The robots perform under the remote guidance of their operators. One must need to guide his/her robot through the obstacles or create a planned set-up. 

How It Uses Objects and Obstacles as Tools? 

You cannot find the robot performing all the fancy stunts as shown in the movie. However, a 2014 ICRI submission explains the robot’s ability to clear a blocked door using a basic fulcrum and lever arrangement to pick up the heavy bricks out of the way. 

Another video of the MacGyver robot shows how it evaluates a gap to be too wide and picks up an object that is wide enough to cross the gap. It is the beginning stage of creating robots that perform in regards to their environments in problem-solving.

Though these ETPA capable robots need humans to direct and control, some of the elements such as its balance are autonomous. However, these robots are capable of doing remote tasks. 

Us Navy Funds This Project

This MacGyver robot fact might surprise you. The US Navy has granted a $900,000(£562,000) stipend for Stilman and his team for three years for this project. 

Mr. Stilman’s Thoughts

Mr. Stilman’s plan is to create software to first identify an object, later to examine things in the given environment that could be used to complete the action. Once the project gets over, the robot might be able to combine the necessary tasks to perform the required action. 

Stillman said in a press conference that they wanted to understand how humans’ basic cognitive processes work allowing humans to take advantage of arbitrary objects in their environment as tools. 

Stilman added that providing Golem with knowledge about simple machines and rigid body mechanics might allow it to autonomously determine an object’s mass and quickly come with the plan accordingly. 

Golem Krang has the ability to lift 100 kg, the combined weight of its two arms.

He also added that their goal is to develop a robot that dubs the television character from the 1980s named MacGyver that helps escape dangerous situations.

These are some of the interesting facts about the MacGyver robot. Hope it helped you learn more about the real-life MacGyver. Let us know in the comments below! 

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