Robots can now groove with human-like walk

Scientists have reached a breakthrough in robotics, enabling robots to achieve human-like walking using a musculoskeletal model.

A group of scientists at Tohoku University in Japan has conducted research that resulted in them replicating a human-like walk for robots.

Walking relies on a complex system in the human body involving both neurological and biochemical control mechanisms. One of the most crucial aspects of human walking is the energy-efficient maintenance of controlled velocity.

The central nervous system uses central pattern generators to create rhythmic leg movements, while reflex control mechanisms quickly adapt to sensory stimuli during walking, helping to maintain balance and speed. Humans adjust reflex responses based on the specific walking task.

Scientists used a musculoskeletal model that mimicked a reflex control method similar to the human nervous system. Previous studies, which relied on reflex-based control systems in studying robotic movements, struggled to regulate velocity. Scientists at Tohuku found an algorithm that enhanced energy efficiency across a range of robotic walking speeds, which are natural to humans.

Their discovery marks a breakthrough in future innovations. According to the scientists, their findings could be used in creating bipedal robots, as well as improving the performance of the controller for exoskeletons and prosthetic legs by adjusting their control parameters according to the user’s walking velocity.

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