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Robotics Hardware

MABEL Robot Runs Like a Human 130

MrSeb writes "Researchers at the University of Michigan have created a running, obstacle-scaling robot. This robot, which is called MABEL (not an acronym), is capable of running at speeds of up to 3.06 meters per second, or 6.8 mph. Physically she is very similar to a human — a heavy torso, and light, springed legs that act as load balancers and shock absorbers — and with a clever feedback system, MABEL even runs like a human, spending 40% of her time three or four inches off the ground."

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MABEL Robot Runs Like a Human

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  • Running free? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Warwick Allison ( 209388 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @05:24PM (#37123526) Homepage

    Would be better if they'd explained in their YouTube text that they were only testing forward balance, not lateral stability. Instead they claim it is "Running free", which is laughable.

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @05:48PM (#37123754) Homepage Journal

    Pro Tip: You're computer has a volume control.

  • Re:because we are (Score:5, Informative)

    by dbc ( 135354 ) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @06:07PM (#37123918)

    Yes, exactly. I was going to say this. In order for robots to melt into the background in office or home environments, the robot has to adapt to *our* environment, not us changing around our world to fit the robots. I'm extremely picky about getting my computer set up just the way I like it, because computers should serve *me*, not the other way around. Same goes for robots. I don't want to rebuild my home or office for the convenience of robots.

    I do a lot of homebrew robotics. I, and everyone else, brings robots to club meetings in a motley assortment of tubs, bins, and cartons, and big robots go int the back of pick up trucks. -- bah, how primitive. A home service robot needs to be easy to transport. That means it has to fit in my car, exactly where a human would sit, without any accommodation. It needs to get to the second floor by going up the stairs, not by some "robot service elevator" put in just for it. So I think in the end we need to have a robust bi-pedal robot platform that folds in the same places that humans do and is human scale, because the world is built to human scale and built for beings that fold where humans do. Robots will only be useful when they can operate in our world without us having to remodel the world for robots.

    Bi-pedal robots aren't worth pursuing for anthropomorphism -- bi-pedal robots are worth pursuing because they could fit easily into our world and disappear into the background.

  • by Gaygirlie ( 1657131 ) <gaygirlie&hotmail,com> on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @07:37PM (#37124560) Homepage

    Even more pro tip: it's spelled "your."

  • Re:Hmmm... no bar?? (Score:4, Informative)

    by SnowZero ( 92219 ) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @03:33AM (#37126848)

    When I read the summary, I thought exactly that -- I wonder if this is another planar walker?

    Planar walkers were already doing flips 20 years ago, and walking quite convincingly and naturally 12 years ago. Many of those researchers have moved to 3D now, with some of the most impressive recent work showing up at Boston Dynamics.

    There still is good research that can be done on semi-passive force control and efficiency, and a lot of that can be tested on planar walkers. However, for the love of all that is honest, at least mention in the summary that all the things you are claiming are done in a 3 d.o.f. workspace rather than the 6 d.o.f. you have in the real world. A bar also offers a metric load of damping, which is the thing keeping the full-3D walkers from really working naturally, and thus that kind of simplification should be mentioned.

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