We’ve covered our fair share of animal robots from Japan in the last years, but PIGORASS, developed by Yasunori Yamada from the University of Tokyo surely stands out: Yamada has developed a four-legged robot that can walk, jump, and (in a way) gallop, too.
Given that Yamada is still a master student and even advanced robots (like Honda’s Asimo, for example) are only able to move in a slow, chopping motion, the way the PIGORASS works is pretty impressive.
Another point worth noting is that PIGORASS moves “autonomously” via a simulated neural system, meaning it isn’t necessary to program which action it should take in advance. Instead, the robot uses a set of pneumatic artificial muscles (shown in red below), passive muscles (springs, in blue), pressure sensors and potentiometers to propel itself forward:
The idea here is to “to understand better the mechanisms underlying the animalâ€™s locomotor skills and how to apply them in robots” and “capture the important features of animalsâ€™ musculoskeletal system in order to realize the embodiment of the neural system”, as Yamada et al. explain here [PDF].
You can watch PIGORASS in action in the video embedded below:
Via Plastic Pals