BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Georgia Institute of Technology engineers have created the most efficient walking humanoid to date. To celebrate the achievement, the robot got its first pair of shoes.
While most colleagues of its generation are hunched at the waist and have flat feet, DURUS by Georgia Tech strolls like a human. It’s got long legs and an upright chest. It lands on the heel of its foot and pushes up its toe. It’s been fitted with a pair of size -13 shoes as it walks on the treadmill. But before taking this swag-bot out for a movie, remember there’s a long time before we’ll see these prototypes into mass production.
As Professor Aaron Ames puts it, the robot is capable of taking longer, faster steps and it replicates human motions. The multi-contact foot behavior allows it to be extra-dynamic, and may one day allow the robot to walk in the real world.
Robots created so far move their top forward while keeping the feet flat on the ground. They also have to stay at a constant height, giving them a hunched look. This prevents the robot from moving with grace, and therefore cannot efficiently propel itself forward.
After weeks and weeks of mathematical calculations, the team radically changed the algorithms which support the robot and added springs between the ankles and feet, resembling human tendons. The robot also features smart sensors which store just enough energy to power the humanoid, without making it look overweight or hunched.
This swag-bot is self-powered and does not depend on a power cord or an external source. The new level of independence was achieved through imitating the human foot. DURUS earned its new pair of shoes.
Engineers want it to run across fields and walk up and down stairs one day shortly. These advances could potentially improve the current prosthetics and exoskeletons, to allow the mobile-impaired people to walk more easily.
While flat foot robots demonstrated that walking was possible, now DURUS takes the next step in engineering. The project was built in partnership with Georgia Tech’s Amber Lab, funded by the National Science Foundation.
This new invention is just a small step on the road of humanoid robotics. The ultimate goal is that one day we’ll see a fully functional humanoid robot.
Image Source – Our Progress