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U.S. Army Scientists Create Formula for the Perfect Walking Robot

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The Llama walking robot currently under development by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The current generation of robots with legs are significantly less efficient than they could be, according to an analysis by scientists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

Credit: ARL Public Affairs

U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) scientists have determined that current legged robots could be far more efficient via evaluation with the Heglund formula, which defines the power requirements of an specifically-sized animal to move at a given speed.

Legged robots deviated from the formula compared to most vehicles and animals; for example, Boston Dynamics' humanoid Atlas robot uses 60 times as much power when moving as predicted.

ARL's Alexander Kott said robots lack the energy-conserving spring-like tissues that animals use to achieve efficiency, but "ongoing research in novel materials is likely to open opportunities for similar store-and-recycle approaches."

The Army is exploring designs for a robotic cargo carrier for infantry squads, and while current candidates use wheels or tracks, walking robots should eventually gain sufficient efficiency for similar applications.

From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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