Dexto: Eka: The Humanoid Robot

Displaying a remarkable knack for scientific innovation, students of ITM University have developed a humanoid robot in a one of its kind project whose ultimate aim is to build a completely autonomous robot in a few years capable of undertaking even search and rescue operations.

Innovation in science and technology has always been the result of man’s raging curiosity. But the quest for gratification may often prove to be perilous and may be detrimental to health and life.

For dealing with such situations, a tele-operated humanoid robot would
be truly expedient. With this aim in mind, Dexto:Eka: the humanoid robot is being built.

The humanoid project was an initiative by Sulabh Kumra (Batch of 2013, EI), a student of ITM University under the guidance of Assistant Professor Ramandeep Singh and mentored by Dr Swaran Ahuja, Head of Department of EECE.

The project has seen over 10 research papers in journals and international conferences. It is the one of the largest projects undertaken by the students of the university and is the largest at the undergraduate level.

At present, it is completely being funded by the university with no external sponsors. It is an inter-disciplinary undertaking with students from Computer Science, Electronics and Mechanical Engineering working on it.

The team comprises of second year, pre-final year and final year students. The dream is to build a completely autonomous robot with a few years.

Dexto:Eka:, is perhaps the first adult sized humanoid robot built by the university students in India. It gets its name from “Dexter”, the animated young scientist whose laboratory was a source of amazement and “Eka”, the Sanskrit word for one. It has been created with the goal of achieving tele-presence while maintaining low developmental costs.

“Dexto:Eka: is a tele-operated anthropomorphic robot with three modes of operation: dependent, semi-sovereign and sovereign”. In the dependent mode, the tele-operator has complete control over the robot.

In the semi-sovereign mode, the tele-operator has partial control but the robot is able to make decisions of its own should a situation prove detrimental to its well-being. In the sovereign mode, the robot has complete autonomy over its actions.

Tele-operator governs the robot through a Human Machine Interface which includes a Graphical User Interface (GUI), an exo-frame and a control column.

The exo-frame enables control of robotic arm in slave mode, whereas the control column aids in manoeuvring the movement of robot. The robot is able to mimic the motions of the tele-operator with great accuracy.

“These robots are capable of performing hazardous treks to uncharted terrain, access buildings in danger of collapsing, caves, or ground that has been polluted by industrial accidents. They can revolutionize search and rescue techniques as they can search for victims buried under debris or trapped in unsafe areas in the wake of disasters.”

“The early months of the year 2014 can eagerly await the first prototype of Dexto:Eka:” said Prof Swaran Ahuja the Head of the Department and Dean Academics at ITM University.

At present, both the robotic arms, and basic structure of the robot along with the exo-frame and GUI have been built. By the end of this academic year, the present team aims to get the robot mobile by completing the omni directional locomotion drive, perform audio-visual processing and also wireless communication between the Human Machine Interface and the robot.

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