University teaches hockey-playing robot to ski

Jennifer's skiing skills will form the school's entry at the 2015 DARwIn-OP Humanoid Application Challenge at the ICRA 2015 robotics conference.
By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Feb. 9, 2015 at 4:54 PM
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- University of Manitoba researchers released a video showing off hockey-playing robot Jennifer's newest trick -- alpine and cross-country skiing.

The video, created to showcase the Autonomous Agents Laboratory's entry for the 2015 DARwIn-OP Humanoid Application Challenge at the ICRA 2015  robotics conference, scheduled for May in Seattle, shows Jennifer the hockey-playing robot trading in her stick for ski poles and trying her mechanized hand at alpine and cross-country skiing.

"This is the latest extension of our work furthering our research into dynamic balancing and walking under realistic conditions," the lab said in a news release. "The changing nature of snowy ground, and the rapid control response required by alpine skiing, present significant challenges to gait design and dynamic balancing in humanoid robots, as does the challenge of operating this equipment in cold weather."

Chris I-B, a researcher from the lab, wrote in the video's YouTube description the researchers will continue to fine-tune Jennifer's technique before the conference in May.

"Improving the control of the alpine skiing is our primary focus, with improving the cross-country gait and allowing the robot to dynamically switch from cross-country to alpine skiing when it detects a change in inclination corresponding to a hill," Chris I-B wrote.

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