A new robot named Flame is the most advanced walking robot that walks like a human. Researchers from TU Delft including Daan Hobbelen have designed the cutting-edge robot by making the traditional sloppy human walking movement more stable. Flame the robot. Credit: TU Delft
Basically, as the researchers explain, humans walk by lifting a leg and falling forward. While this is a very energy-efficient (and lazy) strategy compared with the industrial, highly-controlled approach, it's also relatively unstable. In other words, it's very difficult for researchers to program a robot to fall forward.
But Hobbelen invented a method for measuring the stability of the way that people and robots walk. He built the robot Flame to demonstrate the improvement. Besides containing seven motors, Flame also possesses an "organ of balance." With information from its organ of balance, Flame can do things such as place its feet slightly further apart in order to prevent a potential fall.
This understanding of human walking can also provide insight into how people walk. The researchers hope that individuals with walking difficulties will benefit from improved diagnoses, training, and rehabilitation.
Hobbelen will receive his PhD for this research on Friday, May 30.
p.s. To see a .wmv of Flame, there's a link at PhysOrg.com here .
Source: Delft University of Technology