MABEL the running robot
The researchers at the University of Michigan believe that MABEL, which can reach a peak pace of 10.9 km/h (6.8 mph), is the world's fastest bipedal robot with knees.
Built in 2008 by U-M professor Jessy Grizzle working in collaboration with U-M doctoral students Koushil Sreenath and Hae-Won Park and then doctoral student at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, Jonathan Hurst, MABEL started out walking over flat surfaces before moving onto uneven ground. The researchers spent years progressively improving the feedback algorithms that enable MABEL to keep its balance while reacting to its environment in real time.
To enable MABEL's human-like gait, its weight is distributed like a person's, with a heavier torso and light, flexible legs with springs that act as tendons. The researchers say that other running robots, such as ASIMO, are almost speed walking and their so-called flight phase when both feet are off the ground lasts less than 10 percent of each step. In contrast, MABEL is in the air for 40 percent of each stride.
Source: gizmag.comAdded: 14 November 2011