The Coco Group

Coco is the newest platform to join the humanoid menagerie. Unlike the other robots in the humanoid robotics group, Coco is able to walk around his(*) area. Despite Coco's small stature, his mobility gives him the potential to have a level of autonomy unavailable to the other platforms. The Coco group will be able to investigate the impact of a fully mobile body on behaviors, social interactions and intelligence. This crucial distinction gives the possibility for Coco to exhibit behaviors that are closer to their evolutionary origins. For example, approach behaviors can lead the robot to actually move closer to something in its environment. Likewise, avoidance behaviors can put physical distance between Coco and an object. Furthermore, Coco will have the ability to naturally investigate his environment, potentially discovering important aspects of the world without always being dependent on a human caregiver.

Coco sitting

The core Coco group consists of five people with a variety of research interests. After a great deal of time and effort Coco's body is now functioning quite well. As shown in the photographs on this website Coco is able to walk and change postures. Work has also been done to give Coco a vestibular system, which among other functions helps Coco keep his eyes level to the ground while he is moving. Coco's vestibular system uses a gyroscope and gravitometer to measure the accelerations and orientation of his head with respect to the ground. A lot of work is now being made to give Coco force control in addition to Coco's position control. As you can read about at other locations on this website, force control has many advantages for controlling a robot. For example it makes many types of physical behaviors easier to perform, especially those involving contact with other objects in the world, including the floor and people.

(*) Coco's sex is as of yet undetermined. This description only refers to him as male for convenience.

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