Robot legs walk like a human

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY,  |  July 6, 2012 at 2:58 PM
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Scientists at the University of Arizona have built a robot--or rather, a pair of robotic legs--that they believe is the first to accurately replicate how humans walk.

In a paper published Friday in the Journal of Neural Engineering, scientists Theresa J. Klein and M. Anthony Lewis explain how their model imitates the workings of the body to produce "biologically accurate walking."

"This robot represents a complete physical, or 'neurorobotic', model of the system, demonstrating the usefulness of this type of robotics research for investigating the neurophysiological processes underlying walking in humans and animals," the paper's abstract reads.

Klein and Lewis believe that, by better understanding the walking process in humans, they can gain a better sense of how babies learn to walk--and ultimately help people with spinal cord injuries regain the ability.

CAD model of leg (left), and fully assembled robot (right). Kevlar straps representing tendons are shown in gray. The straps are attached (right—inset left) to the motors by brackets. Force sensors are attached by custom fittings (right—inset right) buckled into the straps. A cart constrains the robot to the sagittal plane, and lends support via bungee cords, like a baby walker. (Klein, Lewis/Journal of Neural Engineering)
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