Holding

Robots

Panic walking gets robot out of sticky situations


MOS-WD06
(Video: Manoonpong)

A six-legged robot with a "panic mode" is proving to be a whizz at locomotion. When it finds it cannot move freely, the panicky droid scans randomly through the many walking gaits it has taught itself and selects the best for the terrain. That means it can free itself should it get stuck.

Getting robots to choose the right gait on differently textured surfaces and at varying inclinations is tough. Some robots use preprogrammed gaits, while others use software routines called genetic algorithms (GAs) to evolve the best gait on the fly. But both those methods need a lot of onboard computer power.

Silke Steingrube of the Bernstein Centre for Computational Neuroscience in Göttingen, Germany, and colleagues took a different tack. They opted instead for a simple computer called a neural network, a computer system that uses feedback on previous decisions to learn from its experiences. Their robot has six triple-jointed legs each with several sensors. These feed information to the neural network, which then determines the most appropriate gait for the terrain, and adjusts the robot's 18 motors accordingly.


Read full article at www.NewScientist.com

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