Next generation robots will be more human
The walking robots have muscles and tendons like humans
The next generation of humanoids may be able to do most things that humans do including climbing stairs, walking for many hours, walking in rough terrains and even fixing problems in complex disaster situations, where it's very dangerous for humans.
Roland Siegwart, director of the Autonomous Systems Lab of the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and a well known robotics expert, said his team is working to develop mobile robots that act autonomously in complex environments.
"Robots are rapidly evolving from factory workhorses, to increasingly complex machines capable of performing challenging tasks in our daily environment," he told Khaleej Times on Monday on the sidelines of the first International Intelligent Robots Symposium at New York University Abu Dhabi.
"For the walking robots, a complex robot, we are trying to get inspiration from nature - humans and animals - on how they do optimal walking.
"The walking robots we are developing have muscles and tendons like humans, which are elastic and allows them to recover energy if they are walking or running. Each time it touches the ground, the tendons are loaded like a stretch and it's able to get the energy back."
Siegwart explained that they used this human-like walking mechanism on the robots because it's more adaptive to different types of terrains, especially the rough ones.
"These machines can go anywhere humans can go. For instance, they can climb stairs which are very steep, unlike other robots. There is potential to use them in the environment that requires humans, especially in extreme catastrophic cases where things need to be fixed and it's very dangerous for humans."
These robots can walk for two to three hours when fully charged.
According to Siegwart, walking robots are currently not much in use because of the complexity involved in developing the machine, but he anticipates that in the future, "we will see more of these machines typically being used in the environment".
Siegwart had explained to experts at the symposium that the main emphasis in developing walking robots is put on mobile robot locomotion and kinematics, environment perception, probabilistic map based localization and mapping, and motion planning.
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