When you hear about a walking/running robot, it is natural to wonder what this innovation can be used for and whether it can directly affect your life or not. A team of French scientists working with together with the University of Michigan and Ohio State University researchers created a new robot that walks and balances just like a human. Mr. Jessy Grizzle, professor of electrical engineering and computer science of the University of Michigan, one of the members of the research team, considers that "it could prove useful in designing cost-effective human prosthetics and rehabilitative walking aids for spinal injury patients". The new creation is called "Rabbit".
This walking robot is definitely not the first. During the last years, the Japanese company "Honda" presented Asimo, a robot that can be called "Rabbit's older brother". Asimo can climb stairs, and walk an incline and decline of up to 30 degrees. Nevertheless, the scientists of University of Michigan and Ohio State University and the team of French scientists believe that their robot is the first of its kind, mainly because it is the first one that can walk and balance like a human.
"Rabbit" is 1.425 m tall and weighs 36 kg. It can walk and run, stand the impacts associated with phase transitions, and its mechanism has few degrees of freedom (five or seven depending on the phase of motion). "If you can take properties of a patient, their height, weight, how the valid leg functions, etc., maybe you could more quickly have the prosthetic adapt its characteristics to the person, instead of the person adapting his gait to the prosthetic - which is essentially what happens now", Grizzle said.
When a robot can serve your needs in many different ways, it is called a new reality rather than a fantasy. The question is how safe and needed this new reality is. Kuka Robotics Corp., a North American subsidiary of Germany's Kuka Roboter Gmbh, announces that their industrial robots protect people from explosion that can be caused in such places as paint rooms by fine gases, dust and vapors. Industry is not the only possible application; on the contrary, if you love, for instance, poetry, you may be pleased to know that robots can entertain you as well. Being asked, it can write a nice poem for you. Watching our real life slowly turning into a science fiction, we shall not be surprise to hear even of a passionate love between robots in the future.