Robots: Humanoids

(for robots, a new way of walking like humans)

Humanoid Robots Improving their Walking Procedures

  • In 2005, a new generation of robots revolutionized the way humanoids walk, which is one of the greatest challenges in mechanical engineering.
  • They followed Honda's ASIMO which is based on technology that is much like that of a shuffling windup toy.
  • Every maneuver is part of a programmed pattern, each posture a frozen moment in time, and an enormous amount of energy is needed to keep the body struggling along in a stiff-looking walk.
  • A nameless robot unveiled by engineers at Cornell University in February, 2005, is modeled after antique toy figurines that progress down a slope, motivated only by gravity.
  • The Cornell robot is the first to use principles of passive-dynamic walking to stroll on level ground, employing electrical energy equivalent to the metabolic energy a human would use.
  • Most of the joints swing freely, naturally shifting mass like a pendulum.
  • Another robot, named "Rabbit", designed at the University of Michigan and the University of Nantes in France, may be the first to run in strides that look human.
  • Its creators have made it dynamic, balancing on two points—it has no feet—and with the ability to adjust to obstacles and changes in surface irregularities.
  • Unlike ASIMO, which cannot balance in a fluid way, Rabbit can be shoved violently and regain its stability without falling over.
—Based on "Humanoid Robots Walk Tall", Discover Magazine, January, 2006.

Soldiers can now operate with the strength of electronic sensors

Computer controlled exoskleton for soldiers

This is the Berkeley lower-extremity exoskeleton (Bleex). The "Bleex One" has been in the works for a while and it seems work has begun on the second prototype, the "Bleex Two". The exoskeleton system has two hydraulic leg braces that include 40 electronic sensors, a monitoring computer and an internal-combustion engine.

The exoskeleton is attached to the legs of the soldier and allows for backpack loads upwards of 220 lb. to be carried with ease.

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