Robot Takes a New Step Forward

PETMAN is one of a new kind of walking robot described in this story from Jesse Emspak, correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor. This bot, designed by Boston Dynamics in Waltham, Massachusetts, is a bipedal robot that can stroll in a very human way as you can see by watching the video.  The mechanical automaton has no torso, just steel and plastic legs tethered to a system of power cables. In its independent walking motion, this machine uses the same heel-to-toe motion as humans. Most amazing is its ability to recover when pushed.  PETMAN sidesteps to recover its balance. And New BalanceTM get ready, this robot even wears shoes!

However, before this humanoid machine runs marathons, it may find a job with the military testing designs for humans.  It could also be a stand-in for humans on Mars.  Make sure and check out the full story at the links below.

 Walking robot

Photo Credit:  Carmen K. Sisson/Special to The Christian Science Monitor

"For the past 30 years, scientists and technicians have grappled with making robots walk on two legs. Humans do it effortlessly, but the simple act has a lot of hidden complexity. And until recently, computers were very bad at it.

Now, several teams across the country are refining the first generation of robots that are close to walking like people. That includes the ability to recover from stumbles, resist shoves, and navigate rough terrain."

Source:   Jesse Emspak,  Correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor/ December 8, 2009 edition



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