Walking robots 'a step closer'

RunBotWalking robots, as depicted in Star Wars, have come a step closer with a biped machine that adjusts its gait to climb up slopes without falling over.

"RunBot", built by robot engineers at the University of Gottingen in Germany, learns to walk like a human toddler.

On its first two or three attempts at climbing up a ramp, the machine which consists of a pair of legs and a trunk, loses balance and topples backwards.

But it quickly learns to correct itself and stay upright by taking shorter steps and leaning forwards. On reaching another flat surface, the robot adjusts its gait again.
Robots that walk upright in this way abound in science fiction, but present great technical challenges.

Such abilities will be essential if bipedal domestic robots that can help around the house, carry shopping, or care for the elderly are ever to become a reality.

RunBot already held the record for robot speedwalking, and can bowl along at more than three leg-lengths per second.

Video: YouTube
Source: Channel4
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