Researchers at Germany’s Research Center for Artificial Intelligence are working on a project they call iStruct—its purpose is to create robots that more closely resemble their natural counterparts. To that end, they have created a robot imitation of an ape—it walks on its back feet and front knuckles. Impressively, the robot ape moves without cables connecting it to something else and is able to walk forwards, backwards and even sideways. It can also turn itself in a new direction.
Robots that imitate real animals (and humans of course) are nothing new; what’s new in this effort is the target—an ape. In actuality, it appears to more closely resemble a gorilla than a chimpanzee or other ape. Also new is the approach the team is taking in attempting to replicate the way a real ape moves. Each part of the body is seen as both a single entity and as a part of a larger system. Thus, each body part has been designed to accomplish certain goals as both a single unit and as a part of a larger whole system. The back feet, for example, each have pressure sensors, rather than simple joints. Those sensors provide information to the Control and Information Processing Compartment which relates what the feet are “feeling” to information coming in from other parts of the body.
Read more at: Phys.org