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Bipedal robots learn to shuffle, evolve toward doing the twist (video)

Jesse Hicks, @jhicks23
May 16, 2011
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Yes, some robots are evolving to a point where they can play instruments and swing a hammer. Hilariously, though, bipedal robots are still awful at turning in a tight radius. Several presenters at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation have been working on a solution: instead of making them take steps, program robots to shuffle. This allows turning without complex weight-shifting -- every time your foot leaves the ground, you have to adjust your balance to remain upright. Keeping your feet on the ground avoids that fairly complicated process, and can make robot-turning quicker, and possible in confined spaces; most current bipedal bots require lots of time and space to turn. See the video after the break for an example from Japan's Osaka Electro-Communication University. It may look like a metal man shuffling his feet, but it's an important step toward our robot-dominated future.

[Thanks, Henry]



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