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Toyota Reveals A Humanoid Robot That Can Run 216

Peter writes "Toyota researchers have unveiled a new humanoid robot that can run at 7 km/h, which is faster than Honda's humanoid robot ASIMO. Toyota's robot can also keep itself balanced when pushed, as shown in the video."
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Toyota Reveals A Humanoid Robot That Can Run

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  • by aegis3d ( 1610027 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @05:46PM (#28912023)
    i, for one, welcome our robot ninja overlords. But seriously, robots are evolving quick in dextety these days
  • by amRadioHed ( 463061 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @05:55PM (#28912089)

    I'm pretty sure it is a run. Notice around 0:53 in the video both feet are off the ground. You can tell because they are both moving forward at the same.

  • by jackharrer ( 972403 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @06:16PM (#28912253)

    Only sad part is that in Japan those are evolving for peaceful reasons whereas in USofA for military purposes. Check recent stories about exoskeletons before you mod me down as flamebait...

    Sad as cooperation for peaceful purposes would make world a much better place, and military one, no comments. Recently they started testing some of airborne droids to shot on meat targets without human interaction. Sad where all this is going...

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Saturday August 01, 2009 @06:17PM (#28912265)

    Depends on if you're investing for dollars or inventions, I suppose. I think Toyota has a good research program, and there's a good chance that long-term more exciting things will come out of it. But it's a totally different question whether this will result in Toyota stock being worth significantly more. They could totally implode in the medium-term if their actual business (selling cars) does badly, for example. Or they could fail to figure out how to commercialize the technology, Xerox PARC style. Etc.

  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @06:17PM (#28912273)
    Why are all of these robots configured to work in a squatting position? Is it that much more difficult to make them perform in a fully upright human like stance?
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @06:24PM (#28912317) Homepage

    There's not much of a moment of suspension, but there is some. There's a little more than with Research ASIMO.

    Most legged running researchers are trying to maintain some stability criterion, and avoid spending much time in suspension, with all legs off the ground. This may be the wrong approach.

    There are two schools of thought in this field. There are the people who start with walking and try to work up to running, and the people who start with hopping and try to work down to running. Most work is from the first school, but BigDog comes from the hopping faction.

    Suspension is sometimes a good way to get out of trouble. You get to move all the limbs while in flight and get completely new footholds. Watch some basketball and you'll see this frequently. There's also a half-suspension in quadrupeds, as when you see a horse kick up their hind end to reposition the legs.

    The technology in this area can get much, much better. The hardware, in robots, sensors, and computers, is almost good enough. Now we need smarter control algorithms.

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Saturday August 01, 2009 @06:41PM (#28912407)

    Ah yeah, I had forgotten about that angle. It's an interesting viewpoint--- I can't find the link again, but I recall reading a study that found that the idea of robots taking care of old people was viewed as a dystopian possibility in the U.S., but a utopian one in Japan.

  • by wrf3 ( 314267 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @07:07PM (#28912599) Homepage

    I've heard it's due to demographic pressure and xenophobia. The Japanese birthrate is declining and they don't like foreigners. With fewer workers and no outside source they have to increasingly mechanize their factories.

  • by Spy Hunter ( 317220 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @07:37PM (#28912789) Journal

    I really don't think the hardware is good enough yet. To run smoothly and efficiently robots will need joint motors that are springy and compliant just like human muscles. All of the robot limbs I've ever seen are far too stiff (with the possible exception of BigDog's legs). Just look at this guy's head and arms shake while he's running; there are huge shock forces being transmitted from the feet directly up to the torso through all those stiff joints. Not only is that likely bad for the robot, it means that tons of energy is being wasted. For example, instead of letting the knee swing forward naturally during a step this robot has to run its servos to force the knee to rotate forward.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 01, 2009 @09:02PM (#28913275)

    No not really. They do this so they can calculate the inverse kinematics while avoiding singularity. If they extend the leg straight, the techniques they use for the motion won't work correctly, essentially. They have some work arounds in other robots, but toyota seems not to be using these techniques. They really need to match velocities of the foot to the ground at the foot fall to avoid huge shocks in the system, because they have no way to store or dissipate energy quick enough. So they need to have all the degrees of freedom available. (Although they seem to use an excessive amount of knee flexion here, especially considering they have another degree of freedom in the toe that robots like asimo don't have)

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @09:30PM (#28913407)

    "Only sad part is that in Japan those are evolving for peaceful reasons whereas in USofA for military purposes. "

    Japan thrives under the US conventional and nuclear military umbrella, hosts large US forces, and benefits from US militarism while maintaining a peaceful image of moral superiority. The Japanese military itself is rather impressive, but discreet.

  • by electrosoccertux ( 874415 ) on Saturday August 01, 2009 @11:34PM (#28913867)

    The GP forgets, too, that for all of known history peace has been held by the hands of a ruthless, iron-fisted dictator.

    And, as far as military dictators go, the USA is a teddy bear.

  • by rpillala ( 583965 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @12:10AM (#28914013)

    I recently watched Gundam Wing again, and even in a cartoon series, some of the characters make extensive speeches about how robot war desensitizes humanity and is therefore wrong. War should be fought by people so that they can understand its terrible cost and will work to oppose and end it.

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @12:28AM (#28914079) Homepage Journal
    I showed the video to my seven year old son and he immediately identified the movement as a run.
  • by The_mad_linguist ( 1019680 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @01:10AM (#28914193)

    Given that 41% of museums mount the skeletons incorrectly, I doubt it would be that useful. []

  • by smoker2 ( 750216 ) on Sunday August 02, 2009 @06:46AM (#28915337) Homepage Journal

    Humans have to take the risk of dying to make them avoid violence. If they do not run the risk, it is easier to inflict violence on others. It is philosophically easier to kill with a gun than with a knife, because you are removed from the real physical act. A robot can kill on your behalf without you being on the same continent. How does that reduce the tendency for violence ?

    Either you are against violence or you're not - which is it ? People shouldn't have to die at all. Making machines do your dirty work does nothing to alleviate suffering from war. Making people actually do the work themselves changes the risk analysis and helps prevent unnecessary bloodshed.

    Do you understand the concept of a fair fight ?

    The idea that people need to die in order for you to feel better about voilence is indefensible.

    This proves you don't understand what's been said.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 02, 2009 @09:59AM (#28916571)
    be assured non-americans don't feel that way anymore since the widespread occurence of torture by your US military forces, and the subsequent lack of revolt by US voters. Apparently y'all don't mind torturing people if they're not american. That's very sad, and it certainly puts you out of the teddy bear league as far as military dictatorships go.
  • by fractoid ( 1076465 ) on Monday August 03, 2009 @03:57AM (#28924097) Homepage
    How else do you motivate a lazy robot to run?

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie