[FPSPACE] FW: Cornell Chronicle: Cornell robot sets walking record
ljk4 at msn.com
Fri Apr 4 22:51:46 EDT 2008
>From: Cornell Chronicle Online <cunews at cornell.edu>
>Reply-To: Cornell Chronicle Online <cunews at cornell.edu>
>To: CUNEWS-PHYSICAL_SCIENCE-L at cornell.edu, CUNEWS-SCIENCE-L at cornell.edu
>Subject: Cornell Chronicle: Cornell robot sets walking record
>Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2008 17:51:57 -0400
>Chronicle Online e-News
>Cornell robot sets a record for distance walking
>April 4, 2008
>By Bill Steele
>ws21 at cornell.edu
>We're not sure what brand of batteries it was using, but the Cornell Ranger
>robot just kept going and going April 3 when it set an unofficial world
>record by walking nonstop for 45 laps -- a little over 9 kilometers or 5.6
>miles -- around the Barton Hall running track.
>Developed by a team of students working with Andy Ruina, Cornell professor
>of theoretical and applied mechanics, the robot walked (and walked) until
>it finally stopped and fell backward, perhaps because its battery ran down.
>"We need to do some careful analysis to find out for sure," said Greg
>Stiesberg, a graduate student on the team.
>An earlier version of the same robot had already set a record by
>free-walking a bit over 1 kilometer, about .62 miles. (Another robot has
>walked 2.5 kilometers [1.55 miles] on a treadmill, Ruina noted. A
>six-legged robot has walked a bit more than 2 kilometers, and there's some
>debate over whether or not that counts.)
>There are no rules for such records, Ruina admits, and the Guinness people
>were not involved. "There's a lot of rigmarole with that," he explained.
>The event, he said, was to show off the machine's energy efficiency. Unlike
>other walking robots that use motors to control every movement, the Ranger
>emulates human walking, using gravity to help swing its legs forward.
>Standing still, the robot looks a bit like a tall sawhorse; walking, it
>suggests a human on crutches, alternately swinging forward two outside legs
>and then two inside ones. There are no knees, but at the ends of the legs
>are feet that can be tipped up and down, so that the robot pushes off with
>its toes, then tilts its feet upward to land on the heels as it brings its
>The goal of the research, Ruina said, is not only to advance robotics but
>also to learn more about the mechanics of walking. The information could be
>applied to rehabilitation and prosthetics for humans and even to improving
>Ruina's lab has built several walking robots of various designs. A model
>with flexible knees, designed to closely imitate human walking, consumed
>energy per unit weight and distance comparable to a human walker. In
>contrast, Ruina estimates that the well-known Honda Asimo uses at least 10
>times as much energy as a human when walking.
>Ironically, Ruina was not present to witness the record-breaking event. By
>phone, from a conference on locomotion in Columbus, Ohio, he commented,
>"We've just moved into this world of electromechanical devices, and to make
>something this robust is a big achievement. We've learned tons about what
>it takes to make walking work."
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