US/Dutch universities build robots that can outwalk Asimo...

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US/Dutch universities build robots that can outwalk Asimo...

Post by Tomexe » Fri Feb 18, 2005 2:20 am ... 05-02-17-5

Robots Learn to Walk
For the first time, mimic human gait and energy efficiency
Betterhumans Staff
2/17/2005 3:47 PM

Robots have been constructed that for the first time mimic human gait and energy efficiency.

The robots integrate concepts from "passive-dynamic walkers," devices similar to children's toys around since the 1800s that walk down a shallow slope using the pull of gravity.

The toys work by swaying from side to side, allowing one foot at a time to swing forward.

For the robots, researchers simply substituted small motors for gravity power.

More efficient than Asimo

Independently developed by researchers at Cornell University in New York, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, the robots are furthering understanding of bipedal motion as well as human locomotion and motor learning.

Insight from the work is also being applied to the development of robotic prostheses.

All of the robots are far more efficient than what's likely the world's most famous bipedal robot, Honda's Asimo. The researchers estimate that Asimo uses at least 10 times as much energy as a human.

The Cornell robot approaches human efficiency, able to walk on level ground while using as little as one-half the wattage of a standard compact fluorescent bulb.

Simple mechanics

The Cornell robot supplies power to the ankles to push off.

When the front foot hits the ground, a simple microchip controller tells the rear foot to push off.

With the forward swing of each leg, a small motor stretches a spring that is released to provide the push.

The Delft robot uses a pneumatic push at the hip, while the MIT robot uses electric motors that directly move the ankle.

All three robots have arms synchronized to swing with the opposite leg for balance.

Machine toddlers

While control programs are simple in the Cornell and Delft robots because of their mechanical design, the MIT robot—"Toddler"—uses a program that allows it to learn how to walk in less than 20 minutes or 600 steps.

The fact that the robots can walk like humans with simple control programs "suggests that steady-state human walking might require only simple control as well," the researchers say.

The robots will be reported in the journal Science.

They were unveiled in Washington, DC at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Credit: Cornell University
A step forward: One of three new robots with humanlike walking ability, this robot by Cornell University researchers nearly matches human efficiency in movement

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Post by Tachyon » Fri Feb 18, 2005 2:54 am

Now that's the kind of news I like to read.
If you don't like the news then go make some of your own.


Post by Tomexe » Fri Feb 18, 2005 6:11 am


The Rogues Gallery: from left, the Delft University bot, the MIT bot, and the Cornell University bot.

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