A team of Swiss engineers from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) accompanied by an Iranian national researcher have made a humanoid robot that walks like humans.
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Although technological advancements in humanoid robotics have developed over the years, the one challenge researchers haven’t seem to overcome is replicating the natural movement which mimic humans, designboom reported.
“Making the robots more stable is just the tip of the iceberg,” says the Iranian researcher and engineer Hamed Razavi, “the next step is refining the algorithms so that the humanoids have a wider range of movement and can overcome obstacles and walk on irregular or sloped surfaces”.
Engineers from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (l’école polytechnique fédérale de lausanne’s biorobotics) are testing new walking algorithms on a platform called COMAN, short for COmpliant huMANoid.
This 95-cm-tall humanoid is designed specifically for studying walking, which is why it has no head.
One of COMAN’s distinguishing features is its joints which are integrated with elastic elements that give it greater flexibility when performing different tasks.
The team of EPFL researchers designed a novel control algorithm for the robot, based on the existing symmetries in the structure and dynamics of the robot, as well as the mathematical equations representing the robot dynamics. The control algorithm uses sophisticated computer programs to carefully analyze the date received from the robot – including its position, velocity, joint angles – and sends appropriate commands to the motors, telling them what to do in order to maintain the robot’s balance.
The algorithms developed by the skilled team of researchers are geared towards three types of real world applications: the first is carrying out rescue missions in disastrous scenarios, the second is helping with banal tasks like carrying heavy boxes or moving objects and the third is creating exoskeletons for the disabled.