University of Michigan (U-M) researchers report an unsupported bipedal robot can now walk down steep slopes, through a thin layer of snow, and over uneven and unstable ground.
"The robot has no feeling in her tiny feet, but she senses the angles of her joints--for instance, her knee angles, hip angles, and the rotation angle of her torso," says U-M professor Jessy Grizzle.
U-M doctoral student Xingye Da developed a way to control the robot with two two-dimensional algorithms that rely on a main controller to handle forward and backward motion and balance, and a second controller to handle side-to-side balance. Da also developed a library of 15 gaits to handle different walking speeds and ground heights, optimized for energy efficiency, making the movement as natural as possible. The robot blends gaits from the library to fit its environment.
A University of Texas at Dallas professor has adapted the algorithm to control a prosthetic lower leg. The team plans to develop a fully three-dimensional controller to achieve true agility.
From University of Michigan News Service
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