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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Meet Runbot

The BBC has the scoop on Runbot a biped robot that was developed using the theories of a 1930's human Physiologist, Nikolai Bernstein. While other robots have achieved two legged walking, Runbot walks at a rate that is nearly the same as the fastest walking humans. The robot's gait is adjusted in real time which allows it to maneuver over uneven terrain, and learn from it's mistakes. Professor Florentin Woergoetter of the University of Gottingen says "When Runbot first encounters a slope these low level control circuits 'believe' they can continue to walk up the slope without having to change anything. But this is misguided and as a consequence the machine falls backwards. This triggers the other sensors and the highest loop we have built into Runbot - the learning circuitry - and from that experience of falling the machine knows that something needs to be changed." Have a look at this video, it's quite impressive to see the machine learn from it's mistakes. It really does move along at a pretty good pace!