Walking robot uses its own weight for propulsion
Creating systems that are energy autonomous is a key goal in the development of robotics, and this new walking prototype from Japan's Nagoya Institute of Technology (NIT) is a big step in the right direction. To some, calling this device a robot may be a bit of a stretch, especially since it lacks electricity, motors or computers of any kind, but its entry into the Guinness Book of Records last year shows it can certainly go the distance with its weight as the only motive force.
"This robot is walking down a slope, and its only source of power is potential energy," said NIT's Kazuki Iwatsuki. "It doesn't use any kind of motor or control, so we think it's very environmentally friendly." Indeed, the device adeptly mimics the human gait, which is essentially a "controlled fall."
NIT's topless biped entered the record books after logging 100,000 steps on a gently-sloping treadmill in a test session. Over a 13-hour period, the device traveled the equivalent distance of 9.3 miles (15 km).
"The robot has three main parts: thighs, lower legs, and ankles," Iwatsuki explained. "It's made of aluminum, and it contains only mechanical components, which have been adjusted so that the robot has the same thigh and leg lengths as a person, and weighs the same."
Plans are in the works to commercially develop the prototype for a number of possible uses in 1-2 years. While no price point is yet available, some of the biped's possible uses might include a prosthetic walking aid for the partially disabled and as a training assist for various athletes. No doubt the military has a wary eye on the development, as well. That's one small step for a robot, one giant leap for robotics.
Check out the videos below to see the biped in action. The second shows a foam-clad female (Blue-Biped) version walking along with just a gentle assist from behind.
Sources: Diginfo.tv/ NIT
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A robot could get around on wheels, too, right? But if I put a toy car on a downward sloping treadmill, I would be an idiot to call that a robot. Japanese tin toys of 1960s were more robot than this. My mother\'s reach-extender claw is more robot than this.
Well,then- build something better and show us what you really know!
If this group does offer something public within a year or two as they hope to then they\'re moving a lot faster than the West.
It is the bottom half of an android and is very human in appearance.
If the top is anywhere close to that, it will be on the forefront of robotics, indeed.
These people are farther than along most readers probably realize.
They are showing components and when those components are assembled, it will be more than just the sum of its parts.
I would be surprised if they don\'t have a few surprisesÂ waiting for final unveiling.
Hey,Gizmag- you should follow up with a story on the Biped as it develops.
People don\'t seem to have the vision to see beyond component proof&testing like this one.... and that it is already setting World Records before it\'s even completed and made fully public!
Robotics are not my primary field but I appreciate the effort and time that goes into something like this.
Whilst in the real world, i.e. away from the lab and its treadmill, it may be useful for moving things downhill, surely energy will need to be expended to get it to the top of the hill in the first place?
That, or they build them at the top of the hill and end up with vast numbers of them, uncared for, at the bottom.