AI News, DURUS Brings Human-Like Gait (and Fancy Shoes) to Hyper-Efficient Robots

DURUS Brings Human-Like Gait (and Fancy Shoes) to Hyper-Efficient Robots

In the middle of the DRC Finals last year, SRI’s DURUS robot slowly and steadily spent over two and a half hours walking 2 kilometers on a single battery charge.

It sounds like they just got everything up and running a few months ago, and they’re now ready to share an impressive new behavior: DURUS can now walk just like a human, while wearing normal (and stylish) human shoes.

Instead, they walk on big, flat feet that provide a large contact area with the ground to maximize stability, while adopting a weird and very robot-y crouching gait to try to keep their center of mass over those giant feet as much as possible, since otherwise, they tend to fall over.

What’s unique about Georgia Tech’s approach with DURUS is that the methods used to develop it are based around a generalized mathematical framework that doesn’t demand any constraints or assumptions like the static stability offered by flat feet.

And it’s not just humanoid robots like DURUS that will benefit, as Ames explains: “The specific goal of this project is to create a universal control paradigm that is applicable ​to humanoid robots along with prostheses and exoskeletons.

DURUS, meanwhile, will be kept busy learning new dynamic behaviors, Ames tells us: “The ability to display human-like walking on a humanoid robot in the context of natural feet behavior is only an indication of what is possible with this framework.

This is all future work, and will be an essential component in bringing robots into the wild.” The planar (and tethered) version of DURUS has already demonstrated human-likerunning behavior, and we can’t wait to see this kind of thing on an unsupported robot.

And that’s really the key here—using the unified control and design framework that AMBER Lab is developing, you generalize different behaviors across different hardware, making it much more practical to develop everything from big walking robots to lower body assistive exoskeletons and prosthetic systems.

DURUS’ job is to enable this development path through exploring more robust locomotion and a broader suite of walking behaviors, which, says Ames, “are the first steps toward systematically understand how to enable humanoid robots to walk among us.” [

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