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Thursday, April 30, 2015

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

Press release - Apr 29, 2015 - CORVALLIS, Ore.

In a rolling, outdoor field, full of lumps, bumps and uneven terrain, researchers at Oregon State University last week successfully field-tested for the first time the locomotion abilities of a two-legged robot with technology that they believe heralds the running robots of the future.

The test demonstrated how their “ATRIAS” robot can move quite nicely, keep its balance and withstand mild blows from a bouncing rubber ball, while taking a walk in the grass, up and down hill, and over varying terrain at a normal walking speed of a little more than three miles per hour.

The human-sized robot had six electric motors powered by a lithium polymer battery about the size of a half-gallon of milk, which is substantially smaller than the power packs of some other mobile robots. This is made possible by the energy efficiency of its elastic leg design and the energy retention that’s natural to animal movement.

A key to progress with this new technology has been fundamental research on how animals move so effectively.



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