MapleSim helps with walking, talking robot

Maplesoft has announced a collaboration with Engineered Arts, a company that designs and produces revolutionary 'RoboThespian' robots.

The current RoboThespian is a life-sized, programmable humanoid robot designed for entertainment and communication. It can talk and sing – and even recite Shakespeare. The next generation RoboThespian robot will be a full size humanoid dynamic robot that walks, runs and jumps. MapleSim is playing a critical role in its design and modelling.

The goal of the RoboThespian project is to make humans think more deeply about humanoid robotics and artificial intelligence. Cinematic, theatrical and engineering techniques combine to produce entertaining robots that tackle challenging ethical, environmental and social issues. Being able to speak more than a dozen languages, RoboThespian is capable of communicating and entertaining in a way that few people have experienced before.

RoboThespian robots are used by science centres in 14 countries. For example, Max Q, the RoboThespian installed at NASA Kennedy Space Center, is programmed to answer questions about space including the Hubble Telescope and astronauts' life in space, with the goal of educating and inspiring visitors.

A walking robot will not only take RoboThespian’s performance as an entertainer and educator to the next level, but the robot prototype will also be used as an advanced research platform that explores verbal and non-verbal communication, human-robot social interaction, object tracking and recognition, and many other areas.

'The next-generation RoboThespian has a full-sized dynamic humanoid design that presents complex challenges,' said Will Jackson, director of Engineered Arts. 'With it, we will take robotic engineering to levels of complexity and performance not seen before. MapleSim significantly simplifies the task for us with its unique but highly efficient modelling and simulation platform. The capacity to simplify, solve and interact directly with differential equations was a big enabler in modelling and analysing physical interactions of the robot components.'

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