Japanese scientists have discovered the secret for robots to walk more naturally, a secret that Elvis Presley knew all along: it is in the hips.
A team of researchers at Waseda University’s Humanoid Robotics Institute, near Tokyo, studied how humans are using their hips in order to move easy and natural, and then tried to copy the movement technique to their robots.
“Most humanoid robots do not have waist motions… so must bend their knees,” giving them an awkward and stilted walk, assistant professor Kenji Hashimoto said on Tuesday.
The team’s Wabian-2 walking robot has flexible hips that allow each leg to rotate and mean the machine can walk in a way that closely mimics humans.
“The waist is rolling, and the robot can stretch its knees,” he said. “The pelvis also twists and moves up and down just as its human counterpart does”, he added, according to the international press.
“In the case of Wabian-2, we want to mimic the human body,” said Hashimoto. “The purpose of developing a humanoid robot is to understand humans.”