Opportunities to Work with Skippy

Skippy is an ambitious robot, both to create and to control; so we are always on the lookout for talented people to join the team.  If you are interested in doing a Ph.D. or a Master's project on Skippy then take a look at Roy's general opportunities page.  Right now, the emphasis is on mechanics, electronics, low-level software, accurate dynamics simulation and overall system design; but the emphasis will inevitably shift towards high-level software and experimentation once we have a working robot.  However, Skippy will always be a highly dynamic machine, and there is no escape from the advanced dynamics and control that will always be necessary to keep Skippy on its toe.

One of the activities that Skippy is designed for is learning by doing.  Because Skippy can fall over or crash-land without damaging itself, and then get back up again unaided, it is a perfect machine for experiments in which it learns by practice how to perform new acrobatic manoeuvres.  Skippy is likely to be the only robot in the world capable of safely learning a large repertoire of highly energetic movements in this way.

Skippy is also fairly safe to give to students.  It is small, light, and covered in shock-absorbing foam, so relatively safe to work with; and its robustness makes it relatively tolerant of programming errors and conceptual errors.  Furthermore, duplicate copies of Skippy are likely to be fairly inexpensive compared with other more complex legged robots; and IIT already provides duplicates of some of its other robots for use in university laboratories, so why not also Skippy?  If this interests you then contact Roy @ IIT directly, but bear in mind that Skippy does not exist yet, so it will be a long time before copies can be made available.

Another possibility is the sharing of software, such as simulation models of Skippy and control systems for hopping and balancing.  This software isn't quite ready yet, and Roy sends his apologies to all those who have already asked for it (many months ago) and are still waiting....