Washington, May 23: A doctoral student at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands has created a computer that walks like a human.
Daan Hobbelen will receive his PhD on May 30 for making Flame, showing for the first time that a robot can be both energy-efficient and highly stable. A research article on Hobbelen's work says that this type of research is important as it may provide insight into how people walk, and thereby help people with walking difficulties through improved diagnoses, training and rehabilitation equipment. During his research, Hobbelen first invented a suitable method for measuring the stability of the way people walk, which later enabled him to build the new robot with improved walking performance. Flame contains seven motors, an organ of balance and various algorithms that ensure its high level of stability. It can apply the information provided by its organ of balance to place its feet slightly further apart in order to prevent a potential fall.
Hobbelen describes Flame as the most advanced walking robot in the world, at least in the category of robots that apply the human method of walking as a starting principle.
TU Delft now plans to develop walking robots that can learn, see and run. One very special part of the robot research concerns football-playing robots.
A presentation on the research project will be made during the international Dynamic Walking 2008conference, to be held from 26-29 May at TU Delft.