Latest in Gear

Image credit: EPFL

Robots learn to walk naturally by understanding their bodies

Self-aware algorithms and flexible joints help them move more like humans.
1056 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

EPFL

The challenge with bipedal robots isn't so much getting them to walk at all (although that's sometimes a problem) as it is getting them to walk naturally. They tend to either step cautiously or quickly run into trouble. Swiss researchers think they can do better, though: they're working on COMAN (Compliant Humanoid), a headless robot designed to master walking. The automaton is more graceful through a combination of more flexible, elastic joints and a control algorithm that helps the bot understand its own body.

COMAN is aware of the symmetries in its dynamics and structure, which helps it not only walk with a natural gait but carry objects, navigate uneven surfaces like stairs, and react to surprises. If you push the robot, for instance, it knows exactly where to place its foot so that it doesn't tip over like some of its peers. And thanks to that added flexibility, it's more likely to survive that rudeness.

The technology is a long way from reaching robots you can interact with. For one thing, these machines would need 'heads' or some other way of exploring the world on their own. They may be particularly clever when they arrive, though. The team is also exploring the possibility of teaching bipedal robots t coordinate in shared actions, such as carrying a table. You could eventually see moving robots that have no problems hauling your couch down a flight of stairs.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
1056 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

YouTube Originals will be free to watch starting on September 24th

YouTube Originals will be free to watch starting on September 24th

View
Nintendo will replace a newly purchased Switch with newer model

Nintendo will replace a newly purchased Switch with newer model

View
Google pulls 85 Android apps with particularly obnoxious adware

Google pulls 85 Android apps with particularly obnoxious adware

View
24 hours with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

24 hours with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

View
A popular immigration bill is bad news for US esports

A popular immigration bill is bad news for US esports

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr