Video of the week: World’s most efficient walking robot

This week’s Thursday video comes from Georgia Tech, where researchers have created what they say is the world’s most efficient walking humanoid.

DURUS, kitted out with size 13 trainers, is designed to mimic the human gait as closely as possible, pushing off its toe, landing on the heel of its foot, and rolling through its step. Springs between its ankles and feet act in a similar way to tendons, allowing for a stride that stores mechanical energy from a heel strike that’s reclaimed as the foot lifts off the ground.

According to the team at Georgia Tech’s AMBER-Lab, the natural gait makes DURUS extremely efficient. Locomotion efficiency is universally measured by a ‘cost of transport,’ which is the amount of power used divided by weight and walking speed. Some of the most efficient humanoids today have a cost of transport of around 3.0, while DURUS comes in at just 1.4.

In contrast to Georgia Tech’s humanoid, students at Bielefeld University in Germany have been working on a chain-like machine called Ourobot, which can sense its environment and adapt its movement accordingly.