Here’s my terrible admission for the day: I’m not really all that bothered by Star Wars. In fact, the only thing that interested me about the films was the cool Imperial tech, particularly the two- and four-legged walkers. Well, Mike Smyth looked Darth-ward for design inspiration when it came to the appearance of his bipedal walking robot, as it bears a pretty good resemblance to a Star Wars AT-ST.
However, what’s really interesting about the project isn’t the physical design but Mike’s intent to have the biped learn how to walk by itself. Rather than just rigging up a RC handset or even pre-programming it to avoid obstacles, he’s giving it the capability to respond to sensors in the feet so as not to fall down holes or crush Ewoks.
Mike’s eventual plan is to put the learning algorithms into bigger, more complicated robots for whom programming prescriptive movement patterns is tedious and time-consuming.