Swiss Federal Institute of Technology researchers are developing spring-loaded muscles for the Roboy robot.
Human muscles are springy, so if a person is nudged or bumped out of the way, they gently bounce back, and if a person jumps or falls, they can absorb the shock, says Swiss Federal Institute of Technology's Rafael Hostettler.
The researchers have developed software that can model this springiness and enable sensors to detect when there is resistance to its movements. However, there is inevitably a lag in the processing of such inputs, so the movement will not be as natural as a human's, Hostettler says.
Roboy's musculature is similar to a human's, with paired actuators operating in opposition at each joint and wires in place of ligaments.
The Roboy research is part of a wider European project called Myorobotics, which aims to create robots that are less expensive to build and safer to be around. In addition to its role as a proving ground for robotics technologies, the researchers "see it as a training tool for doctors to learn standard tests for stroke diagnosis," Hostettler says.
From IDG News Service
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