Research on the development of a robot that can walk like a human was just published on July 6th in the Journal of Neural Engineering.
As a quick overview:
“A robotic set of legs that is able to fully model walking, in a biologically accurate manner, has been produced by a group of US researchers.”
“The remarkably human-like walking gait was produced by simplifying the neural architecture, musculoskeletal architecture and sensory feedback pathways of humans, and building them into the robot.”
“A key component of the human walking system is the central pattern generator (CPG). The CPG is a neural network in the lumbar region of the spinal cord that generates rhythmic muscle signals. The CPG produces, and then controls, these signals by gathering information from different parts of the body that are responding to the environment. This is what allows people to walk without needing to think about it.”
“The simplest form of a CPG is a half-centre, which consists of just two neurons that fire signals alternatively, producing a rhythm. The robot contains an artificial half-centre as well as sensors that deliver information back to the half-centre, including load sensors that sense force in the limb when the leg is pressed against a stepping surface.”
This new research follows on the heels of the development of an artificial cerebellum, for object manipulation similar to humans. And the development of a robot capable of learning ‘language’ directly from ‘talking’ with people.
Here’s a collection of videos showcasing some of the recent developments in robotic technology:
Source: Institute of Physics