I found this over at Science Daily, it’s the fastest bi-pedal robot so far:
Computational neuroscientists designed a robot that teaches itself how to walk on differing terrain. The RunBot uses an infrared eye to detect slopes, and adjusts its gait for the smoothest walk. From repeated attempts it matches the degree of slope to the appropriate length of step and movement of joints. Essentially, the robot learns to walk on uneven ground in the same way as a child.
“After two or three times, like a baby, it just learns from mistake and it changes gait and walks up the slope,” Poramate Mannonpong, Ph.D., Computational Neuroscientist at the University of Goettingen in Goettingen, Germany said.
Dr. Manoonpong is the computational neuroscientist behind the Runbot. By using sensors and an infrared eye, this robot can detect a slope on its path and adjust on the spot! It’s created with the same critical joints as a human.
“It has two hip joints, two knee joints, here … and it has a foot contact sensor for each leg.” Dr. Mannonpong said.
Just like in people, sensors make sure the joints are not over-stretched and that the next step is initiated as soon as the foot touches the ground. This technology may someday be used to help humans.
“We hope that in one day, human can walk with artificial leg,” Dr. Mannonpong said.
Speed walking robots started out slowly, at 0.7 leg lengths per second. Now, the Runbot can speed walk at 3.5 leg lengths per second. Compared to its size, that’s almost as fast as a speed walking Olympian. Proving robots are moving us fast towards the future.
The next phase is to make the Runbot freestanding and then work with companies to produce the technology for humans.