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Exoskeleton development to benefit from bipedel robot research

Two legged robots are being taught to walk like humans thanks to KoroiBot, a three year project that has received around €4.16m of EU funding.

Experts with backgrounds in robotics, mathematics and cognitive sciences will study human locomotion as exactly as possible and transfer this onto technical equipment with the assistance of new mathematical processes and algorithms.

The project brings together scientists from Germany, France, Israel, Italy and the Netherlands who will be coordinated by Prof Dr Katja Mombaur of Heidelberg University.

‘One of the major challenges on the way is to enable robots to move on two legs in different situations, without an accident – in spite of unknown terrain and also with possible disturbances,’ said Prof Mombaur, who heads the working group Optimisation in Robotics and Biomechanics at Heidelberg University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR).

In the KoroiBot project the researchers will study the way humans walk on stairs and slopes, on soft and slippery ground and over beams and seesaws, to create their mathematical models.

Besides developing new optimisation and learning processes for walking on two legs, they aim to implement this in practice with existing robots. In addition, the research results are to flow into planning new design principles for the next generation of robots.

Besides the targeted use of robotics, the scientists expect possible applications in medicine, such as for controlling intelligent artificial limbs. According to a statement, they expect to see further areas of application in designing and regulating exoskeletons as well as in computer animation and in game design.

Readers' comments (3)

  • I understand there are probably incredible implications to a robot standing on two legs, walking, climbing stairs, etc., but is a bipedal locomotion really the ideal motion for a robot? Humans are slow and prone to tripping over things. Wouldn't it be more effective to create a robot that had four legs and two arms? Four for motion and two for manipulating the world?

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  • A bipedal robot would be able to get into smaller spaces and it would enable a robot to enter the sphere of its human counterparts, where as a four legged robot would have difficulty getting into a car seat for transportation for instance. Unless of course it was only ever meant to remain within a certain area. A four legged robot would be restricted by height, unless it could stand bipedal when necessary. Just thinking aloud.

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  • Ever try to catch a squirrel or watched it untie a knot? it has four legs and two arms just not at the same time.

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