Running Robopalooza

Run, RunBot, Run!

from Sploid

Just a month after the unveiling of the Pentagon's Robot War Donkey, a joint venture between Germany and Scotland has developed a robot that can run faster - for its size - than any other in the world.

The aptly named RunBot stands about a foot tall and can run (watch!) 3.5 leg-lengths per second. Scaled up to human proportions, that's like an average-sized man running a mile in just under 9 minutes.

RunBot's latest sprint beat out MIT's "Spring Flamingo," which is four times taller, but only goes 1.4 leg-lengths per second.

RunBot runs on a network that mimics human neurons that control reflexes, but only senses when a foot hit the ground and when a leg swings forward. Most two-legged robots are far more complex.

When a foot reaches the floor, the rear leg bends and starts to swing forward. When it reaches the hip it begins to straighten in preparation for touchdown. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

"Humans have simple neural systems that learn a few basic modes of movement that function as reflexes," Worgotter says. "RunBot works the same, putting it on the ground triggers the reflex."


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