Robotic Legs Imitate Our Neural System, Resulting in the Most Human-Like Saunter


There have been some pretty crazy bipedal robots in the past, but scientists at the University of Arizona have gone directly to the source — humans — to build one with a very human-like walk. It turns out that it’s not just our computer which is capable of controlling gait: an uncomplicated neural network in the lumber section of our spine, called the central pattern generator (CPG), also fires to provide the necessary rhythm. By producing a rudimentary digital version of that and connecting some feedback sensors in the legs, a more natural human stride (without balance) was created — and on top of that it didn’t require the complicated processing used in other striding bots. This explains why babies can make that walking movement before they toddle for real, since the essential CPG system is already present from birth, normally. This means that the study has the potential of discovering new ways of stimulating that region to help people with spinal cord injuries practice being on their feet again, and produce better, less complex walking robots to boot. From the video, we can say that it’s good, but the experiment is just in its initial stages – they’re still far from being able to perfectly replicate human gait — you can watch it after the break.

5 Responses on “Robotic Legs Imitate Our Neural System, Resulting in the Most Human-Like Saunter”

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