A team of University of Arizona engineers claim to have built a set of robotic legs that walk in a biologically accurate manner better than any other artificial life form.
The robot's legs are made from plastic using a 3D printer. Each leg consists of a hip, knee and ankle moved by nine muscle actuators. Tendons and muscles consists of motors that pull on kevlar straps to bend and straighten the legs.
To mimic walking in humans, researchers develops software to control the legs - this software is similar as a central pattern generator (CPG), the neural network in our spinal cords.
The CPG is a neural network producing rhythmic signals that allow the body to generate the step cycle needed for locomotion. The CPG creates and controls these signals based on information it gathers from the legs, which indicate, for example, the slope and solidity of a surface as they walk.
While walking, the CPG receives data from sensors that sense muscle tension and perceive how much force is being exerted and the legs' position.
The research, published today in the Journal of Neuroengineering is led by M. Anthony Lewis, director of Arizona's Robotics and Neural Systems Laboratory, and Theresa Klein, a Ph.D. student at the lab.
Dr Theresa Klein said in a statement: "Interestingly, we were able to produce a walking gait, without balance, which mimicked human walking with only a simple half-centre controlling the hips and a set of reflex responses controlling the lower limb."
The researchers hope the robot helps us understand how humans walk and what stimulation could help spinal-cord-injury patients recover the ability to walk in the months after the injury.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
Maybe you also like:
- 3D printing robot creates Endless Chairs from melted fridges (Video)
- 3D-printed buckliball opens new class of collapsible 3D structures
- Innovative digital and 3D printed fossils for engaging the public with science
- How to build a low cost 4 Servo Arduino Biped robot
- Pocket printer under development
- Objet holding acquisition talks with a large electronics company
- Time Magazine calls Makerbot CEO a game changer (video)
- Extraordinary demand for the ModMyPi 3D printed Raspberry Pi cases
- Introducing Cartesio CNC/3D printer kit
- Customizable Maxifab 3d Printing Framework with user determined build volume
- ORD Bot 3D printers and MakerSlide available for pre-order
- Affordable Blueprinter SHS 3D printer for desktop sintering
- Model chess set with Tinkercad to win a Makerbot Replicator
- 3D printing joins revolution in medical industry
- 3D-Printed Universal Adapter set connects construction toys to each other
- EnvisionTEC support Aardman 3D printing 7,000 parts in its latest Pirates! film
- 3D printed Hand Robot InMoov
- ABN AMRO sees big future in 3D printing
- 3D printed Apple accessories from Curve Creative
- 3D printing a perfect replacement part for dishwasher
- Mcor Technologies celebrates St. Patrick's Day and ready to enter US Market
- Win a ShapeOko CNC kit for 3D printing and CNC routing
- A second generation 3D concrete printing is under development
- "Pimp My Ride" host to customize a Nissan Cube for 3D systems' cross country trip
- 3D Printing/AM China 2012 Conference