DURUS walks like a person, right out of Georgia Tech - maybe into work environments that humans are in.
(DURUS robot walks like a human being in this video)
Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have created what they say is the most efficient-walking humanoid ever created. While most machines these days are hunched at the waist and plod along on flat feet, Georgia Tech’s DURUS strolls like a person. Its legs and chest are elongated and upright. It lands on the heel of its foot, rolls through the step and pushes off its toe. It’s even outfitted with a pair of size-13 shoes as it walks under its own power on a treadmill in the team’s AMBER Lab.
“Our robot is able to take much longer, faster steps than its flat-footed counterparts because it’s replicating human locomotion,” said Aaron Ames, director of the Georgia Tech lab and a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Multi-contact foot behavior also allows it to be more dynamic, pushing us closer to our goal of allowing the robot to walk outside in the real world.”
This natural gait makes DURUS very efficient. Robot locomotion efficiency is universally measured by a “cost of transport,” or the amount of power it uses divided by the machine’s weight and walking speed. Ames says the best humanoids are approximately 3.0. Georgia Tech’s cost of transport is 1.4, all while being self-powered: it’s not tethered by a power cord from an external source.
This new level of efficiency is achieved in no small part through human-like foot behavior. DURUS had earned its new pair of shoes.
“Flat-footed robots demonstrated that walking was possible,” said Ames. “But they’re a starting point, like a propeller-powered airplane. It gets the job done, but it’s not a jet engine. We want to build something better, something that can walk up and down stairs or run across a field.”
The essential fact about the DURUS robot is that it walks like a person - another way to say it is that where a person can walk, the robot can walk. That would mean that the DURUS robot might be able to do jobs that a person could do.
In Robot Unwanted, a remarkable 1952 story with many great ideas by Daniel Keyes, robots do the work of human stevedores unloading cargo from ships:
He stood there - watching the robodores unloading cargo from a ship - and then walked over to a piling and leaned against it, and leaned against it as he watched the water lapping against the pier...
The heavy-duty robots marched back and forth, carrying cases of raw materials from across the seas.
(Read more about robodores)