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New robot leg design becomes more human, more deadly

Joshua Topolsky
09.10.08
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Your regular, inefficient robot legs getting you down? Maybe you should check in with researcher Jonathan Hurst and his robo-leg project under development at Oregon State University. Apparently most jointed legs driven by motors have a tough time recycling energy due to a lack of snapback from proper tendons, but Hurst's work hopes to clear all that noise up. By utilizing a new design powered by steel cable tendons with built-in springs, roboticists want to get closer to the 40 percent retention of energy our fancy human legs get up to. While a student at CMU, Hurst created "Thumper," a single leg attached to a boom that puts his theories in motion, and he's collaborated on bi-pedal models more recently. The hope is to eventually create robots with more natural, animal-like gaits, which will allow them to run towards or chase their human victims and terminate them with a more ruthless intensity. Check the video after the break to see exactly what we mean.

[Via Medgadget]