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University of Pennsylvania’s Ghost Robotics launches Minitaur four-legged robot platform for autonomous vehicle applications

Ghost Robotics says Minitaur four-legged robot built for highly-precise force feedback applications and movement across unknown, rough and vertical terrains 

University of Pennsylvania startup company Ghost Robotics has launched its first patent-pending direct-drive legged robot platform, Ghost Minitaur. 

Ghost Robotics specialises in the research and development legged, direct-drive or gearless and proprioceptive robotics technologies.

Founded by University of Pennsylvania PhD candidates, Avik De and Gavin Kenneally, Ghost Robotics is researching and building next-generation legged robots that are superior to wheeled and tracked autonomous vehicles in many field applications. 

ghost minitaur

The company’s underlying research and intellectual property have additional applications in surgery, lab operations, healthcare and advanced gait research.

The company launched October 2015 and is backed by the University of Pennsylvania and PCI Ventures, which incubate Penn’s leading research and innovations.

Gavin Kenneally, co-founder of Ghost Robotics, says: “We are extremely excited to be launching our first commercial robot platform, Ghost Minitaur.”

Avik De, co-founder, says: “This has been a long journey in the conceptualization and development of the robot, and we see many applications for the platform ahead and underlying technology.”

Ghost Minitaur is a patent-pending medium-sized legged robot highly adept at perceiving tactile sensations. Its high torque motors, motor controllers, and specialized leg design allow this machine to run and jump over difficult terrain while actively balancing, climb fences, and rapidly reorient from falls.

High-speed and high-resolution encoders let the robot see and feel the ground through the motors and adapt faster than the blink of an eye.

A key application includes deployment of Ghost Minitaur as an autonomous sensor vehicle for public safety, military, exploration, mining, agricultural and hazardous environment operation.

The robot can also be used in advanced gait R&D and can be programmed for a range of gaits (bounding, crabbing, walking, trotting), climbing stairs and fences, and even opening doors.

Jiren Parikh, Ghost Robotics’ CEO, says: “The forward thinking vision of both Gavin and Avik is quite impressive. The market opportunity for legged robots in operating environments where wheeled or tracked robots have limitations is substantial.”