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Toyota humanoid robot learns to run

By Damir Beciri
3 August 2009

humanoidrobotIn this article we’re going to write about a civilian humanoid aiding robot (unlike BigDog which is developed for army usage). Honda’s ASIMO humanoid already demonstrated its amazing walking and running capabilities. Other research labs are not so far behind developing robots just as capable. Toyota has an excellent and very advanced robot in the making even though they entered the game much later than Honda. They call their robots partner robots and plan to use the in various applications such as assistance, elderly care, manufacturing, and mobility.

There are a walking model (most resembling to humans), a rolling model (the legs are replaced with wheels), mountable model (designed for elderly care and mobility applications) and wired model (uses wires to connect joints thus lightening robots weight). They also altered those models in order to make them more entertaining, thus making music playing robots that can play a violin or a trumpet.

Toyota’s most recent humanoid robot is learning to run. The prototype is 130cm tall and weighs 50kg. Its legs have 7 degrees of freedom and it can run at an average speed of 7 km/h. In contrast, ASIMO’s maximum speed is 6 km/h. The Toyota researchers had to develop new real-time methods for balance control. These methods make it possible for the robot to remain balanced when an external force such as a push from a human is applied when in motion.

Toyota demonstrated the running capabilities of the new humanoid robot. The robot takes a step every 340ms and has no contact with the ground for 100ms of that. Notice in the video how the robot remains balanced even after pushed by the human.

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