Inspired by humans, a robot takes a walk in the grass

Oregon State University (OSU) researchers have developed ATRIAS, a bipedal robot they say is the closest machine yet to resemble human locomotion. The human-sized robot has six electric motors powered by a lithium polymer battery. The researchers have improved its energy efficiency over other robots using an elastic leg design and by taking advantage of the energy retention that is natural in animal movement. “This will ultimately allow a much wider range of robotic uses and potential than something which requires larger amounts of energy,” says OSU professor Jonathan Hurst. The researchers say ATRIAS already is three times more energy-efficient than other human-sized bipedal robots. “This is part of a continuous march toward running robots that are going to be useful and practical in the real world,” says OSU researcher Christian Hubicki. The robot is based on research into how animals move so effectively. Animals can combine sensory inputs from nerves, vision, muscles, and tendons to enable a level of locomotion that scientists are still trying to replicate. The research could be used to develop prosthetic limbs, or machines that can move around in places that are too dangerous for people.

More info here: Oregon State University News (04/29/15) David Stauth

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