Virginia Tech Students Build Full-Sized Autonomous Robot with Help from NI Products

Engineering students at Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanics Laboratory (RoMeLa) recently unveiled the first complete, untethered, autonomous walking humanoid robot built in the United States. The students used NI LabVIEW and NI Single-Board RIO to create the robot.

The Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Artificial Intelligence, better known as CHARLI, was conceived by RoMeLa associate professor and director, Dr. Dennis Hong. The robot was built with only $20,000 in funds and donated equipment from NI and Maxon Precision Motors.
CHARLI’s structure is anatomically based, deploying a system of pulleys, strings, carbon fiber rods and actuators, instead of using traditional rotating joints. Standing at five feet tall, the robot can climb stairs and tread uneven ground, which is more than most robots can handle.
There are two CHARLIs – CHARLI L, as in lightweight, and CHARLI H, as in heavyweight. CHARLI H is still being developed with the hopes that it will one day be able to run, jump, and do just about anything a person can do.

Watch the video to see the robot in action and hear the students talk about CHARLI.

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