Stanford Students Built This Adorable, Bouncy, Open-Source Robot Dog

Gif: Stanford University, YouTube

If you’ve always dreamed of having a low-maintenance, vaguely dog-shaped companion, well, you’re in luck. A group of undergraduate and graduate students at Stanford University have just unveiled Doggo, a relatively cheap, light, four-legged robot with the bouncing ability of a typical toy breed. Best of all, they’ve made the instructions to building your very own Doggo fully and freely available to the public.

The robot was created by members of the Stanford Robotics club, specifically its Extreme Mobility team.

According to its creators, the roughly 5kg Doggo can dance, navigate uneven terrain, and even jump up to 3.5 feet off the ground. Its vertical agility (a measure of its maximum height times the speed it takes to reach it) is especially impressive: It more than matches the jumping skills of real-life animals and is apparently 22 per cent greater than the current record held by similar robots. But it isn’t just physical prowess that makes Doggo a very good robo-boy.

Gif: Stanford University, YouTube

“We had seen these other quadruped robots used in research, but they weren’t something that you could bring into your own lab and use for your own projects,” Nathan Kau, a mechanical engineering major and lead for Extreme Mobility, said in a release from Stanford. “We wanted Stanford Doggo to be this open source robot that you could build yourself on a relatively small budget.”

Gif: Stanford University, YouTube

Nearly all of the parts used to create Doggo were bought intact through the internet, while the rest can be easily 3D-printed. The total costs involved in building Doggo—including shipping and handling—amounted to less than $4,364, Kau and his team claim.

Via the website Github, the team has also released all of the relevant information you would need to create your Doggo, including software coding, supply list, and manual instructions. From there, any enterprising roboticist could tweak the design to create an even more capable Doggo.

Gif: Stanford University, YouTube

“We’re hoping to provide a baseline system that anyone could build,” Patrick Slade, graduate student in aeronautics and astronautics and mentor for Extreme Mobility, said in the Stanford release. “Say, for example, you wanted to work on search and rescue; you could outfit it with sensors and write code on top of ours that would let it climb rock piles or excavate through caves. Or maybe it’s picking up stuff with an arm or carrying a package.”

The Stanford Doggo will make its grand debut at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Montreal, Canada this week. But the team has already stated that it plans to make a “bigger and better version of Doggo.”

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