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Technology that will Enable Manufacture of Robots Walking like Humans

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Though robots have become very advanced in recent times, the biggest hurdle has always been to make robots that can walk as efficiently as human beings. A team of researchers at Oregon University has come up with a unique technology that allows robots to walk like human beings. This technology is called spring-mass walking. It was theorized 10 years ago but it has been realized only now. It allows robots to maintain a walking style that closely resembles walking of human beings.  This new technology opens doors for the use of robots in many industries where robots could not be used earlier because of their limitations in walking.

 

Spring –mass walking concept has come to life

The researchers’ at OSU studied walking of many different animals and human beings from all possible angles. They also studied their running in slow motion to find out how they achieved such high fluidity while being able to preserve their energy. These scientists found that animals combine various sensory inputs to produce locomotion that is as close as possible to perfection.  After analyzing different kinds of motions produced by human beings and various animals, these scientists finally developed their own version of spring mass walking that heralds a new future of robots that will walk like human beings.

 

This new walking technology has proved to be very efficient with many trials having been conducted. The researchers have even developed a robot called Atrias that mimics this new spring mass walking. The walking of this robot has been studied and described by experts as three times more energy efficient and versatile than the walking effort of earlier generation of robots. Atrias has been proved to have walking energy efficiency three times more than other bipedal robots around the world.

 

Atrias mimics human walking very closely

So confident is Jonathan Hurst with the results of spring-mass technology evolved at OSU that he has already declared Atrias to be the future of legged robots. He is the director of robotic laboratory at OSU and also a professor in mechanical engineering department of the college. He has said that the scientists at OSU have demonstrated how human beings walk through Atrias. Jonathan said that though other robots   also have legs and locomotion, their efforts stand way below the walking effort of Atrias. These robots are not able to capture the real essence of walking and running of human beings.  But Atrias is different from the rest of two legged robots produced around the world and it is evident in the way it confidently tackles all the different terrains that are made available to it.

 

Robots will find place alongside humans in many industries

Hurst feels that despite Atrias being the most advanced of all two legged robots in terms of locomotion, it is still a crude demonstration of what robots can do in future. Atrias is still not capable of competing against human beings. But the day is not far off when robots capable of working alongside human beings will be produced. Atrias has shown the way and the future robots will only become more agile and advance.  Hurst has expressed hope that in future robots will be able to charge upstairs in buildings to be able to save lives of people in danger. This is not all as robots with better locomotion will be able to play many more roles in various industries besides helping in household jobs.

 

Better moving robots will find more and diverse applications alongside humans in different life situations. Spring-mass walking is a concept that has been practiced and perfected by animals over millions of years.

 

 

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Christopher Redman

The author Christopher Redman