Rambling robots show human efficiency

While the most advanced robots, including Asimo, require a multitude of motors and sensors in each joint and a powerful adaptive software to remain steady while walking.


Now three mechanical bipeds, built by researchers from Cornell University, MIT and Delft University in the Netherlands, can walk using simple mechanical dynamics and minimal motorisation.

“Our robots demonstrate that utilising the natural dynamics of the body can make robots much more efficient,” says Steve Collins, from the MIT. “For any autonomous robots to be practical, they must be energetically efficient.”

Two of the three robots show remarkable power efficiency. Whereas Asimo consumes about 10 times as much power as a walking human, these robots use about the same amount of energy as you and me. Have a look at the video of one of them walking.

Toddler, the third robot is more advanced, employing a learning algorithm to adapt to its terrain.

As well as contributing to the development of more power-efficient humanoid machines, the robots could lead to more intelligent and more realistic artificial legs and feet.

Via New Scientist and LiveScience.