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 animal’s locomotor skills and how to apply them in robots” and “capture the important features of animals’ 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