AI News, Six-legged robots get closer to nature

Six-legged robots get closer to nature

In the natural world, many species can walk over slopes and irregular surfaces, reaching places inaccessible even to the most advanced rover robots.

Now, researchers in Japan and Italy propose a new approach to walking pattern generation, based on a hierarchical network of electronic oscillators arranged over two levels, which they have demonstrated using an ant-like hexapod robot.

The lead author of the study, Ludovico Minati, who is also affiliated to the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow, Poland and invited to Tokyo Tech's Institute of Innovative Research (IIR) through the World Research Hub Initiative explains that insects can rapidly adapt their gait depending on a wide range of factors, but particularly their walking speed.

The proposed controller shows an extremely high level of versatility thanks to implementation based on field-programmable analog arrays (FPAAs)[3], which allow on-the-fly reconfiguration and tuning of all circuit parameters.

Such emergent phenomena arise particularly as the network is realized with analog components and allows a certain degree of self-organization, representing an approach that vastly differs to conventional engineering, where everything is designed a-priori and fixed.

Because they can be changed dynamically, in the future it should be easy to vary them in real-time using a brain-computer interface, allowing the control of complex kinematics otherwise impossible to dominate with current approaches.'

And Natsue Yoshimura, also based at the IIR, says: 'As the controller responds gradually and embodies a biologically plausible approach to pattern generation, we think that it may be more seamless to drive compared to systems which decode discrete commands.

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For example, the hexapod bot can walk with three legs straight out from its sides, like an ant, or with the legs spread more evenly around the body, like a cockroach.

The researchers developed a new biologically-inspired controller that uses a network of non-linear oscillators which enables a diverse number of postures and gaits using only a few high-level variables.

The controller has two levels, a pattern-generator circuit that controls the gait, and six local pattern generators that control the trajectories of the individual legs — each performs tasks  based off of years of previous research.

According to the researchers, they have yet to crack how these complex movements are performed by such simple living creatures, but the study could eventually lead to new ways to control multi-legged robots and even a future that uses brain-computer interfaces.

While you won't find it in your local store's anytime soon, we must consider if/when restaurants will add meal-worm burgers and micro-algae buns to the menu.

Among the new grub is the Dogless Hotdog, which consists of dried and glazed carrots, beet and berry ketchup, mustard and turmeric cream, roasted onions, cucumber salad and an herb salad mix.

The non-profit is looking for $600k by April 13th to fund the next phase of R&D, and another $400k for the first community of 100 printed homes — that's 100 homes for what some people spend on a single house.

The children's book looks to inspire the next generation of tinkerers and big thinkers, and it just so happens to center around the tech industry's biggest draw.

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