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

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Two views of the DURUS robot taking a walk.

SRI International's DURUS robot now can walk like a human.

Credit: AMBER Lab/Georgia Institue of Technology

SRI International's DURUS robot can now walk like a human while wearing normal shoes.

Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) professor Aaron Ames, who leads the Advanced Mechanical Bipedal Experimental Robotics Lab, says DURUS is now walking with an energy cost of transport of 1.4, down from 1.5, which it achieved last year at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge Finals, thanks to its new human-like gait.

Ames says DURUS has more natural foot behavior, including human-like heel-to-toe contacts.

Georgia Tech's approach is unique in that the methods are based on a generalized mathematical framework that does not demand any constraints or assumptions such as the static stability offered by flat feet, enabling any requirements to simply be added and the robot will work it in. For DURUS, the result is a more dynamic and natural looking gait that boosts both speed and efficiency.

The robot's efficiency is a combination of both software and hardware, Ames notes. "The same technologies underlying DURUS...will translate to prostheses and exoskeletons to give mobility-impaired humans natural and efficient locomotion capabilities," he says.

From IEEE Spectrum
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