Thursday, December 13, 2012

Engineers Create a More Lifelike Robot

 In the endless quest to create a robot that looks and moves like a human being, researchers have broken new ground: giving a robot a complex muscular system that accurately mimics some human movements.

Kenshiro, who was developed by University of Tokyo engineers, made his debut at the Humanoids 2012 conference in Osaka, Japan. Kenshiro is roughly the size of a 12-year-old boy – about 5 feet, 2 inches (158 centimeters) tall and weighing 110 pounds (50 kilograms), according to IEEE Spectrum, which co-sponsored the Nov. 29-Dec. 1 conference.

Weight, in fact, was a critical issue in Kenshiro's design. The robotics engineers had to carefully balance the relative weight between Kenshiro's torso and legs to get him to move naturally, and they used lightweight materials including aluminum to make his rib cage and other skeletal components. (Bones made on a 3D printer were discarded due to their frequent breakage.)

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