Scientists develop most advanced robotic legs yet

Scientists from the University of Arizona have developed the most accurate robotic replication of human legs that take it beyond just human-like movement. The robot, which can walk just like a human, will be able to help them understand how human babies start learning how to walk and how to better treat spinal related injuries.

The robot uses motors that push and pull on kevlar straps, which represent human leg muscles, allowing it to achieve nearly identical human-like movement. Even more amazing than that is the fact that the robot also has a computerized version of the central pattern generator (CPG), which is what humans use to collect information from their body. The CPG is what allows people to walk without thinking about walking, adjust strain on leg muscles, evaluate load patterns from each foot, and so on.

Additional enhancements to the robot are expected to be made in the future, including visual and tactile sensors as well as the ability to pick itself up again after falling down. And even though there have been robots that have previously replicated human movement before, this is the first one that has been able to accurately replicate the underlying human control mechanisms that actually drive the movement.

[via BBC]