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Technology

Researchers create robotic leg that teaches itself to walk

Instead of teaching robots how to perform a specific task, researchers have created a robotic leg that teaches itse
Published March 13, 2019

Instead of teaching robots how to perform a specific task, researchers have created a robotic leg that teaches itself to walk just like an animal.

For the first time ever, a team of researchers from the University of Southern California has created a leg driven by animal-like tendons that can learn to walk on its own through trial and error and can even recover its footing after being tripped so it doesn’t fall.

“The ability for a species to learn and adapt their movements as their bodies and environments change has been a powerful driver of evolution from the start,” said co-author Brian Cohn. “Our work constitutes a step towards empowering robots to learn and adapt from each experience, just as animals do.”

New self-aware robot capable of ‘imagining’ itself

As per Tech Radar, the algorithm that operates the leg can learn a new walking task just after five minutes of ‘play’, which is making random movements that build up a map of the limb and its interactions with its environment.

“Nowadays, it takes the equivalent of months or years of training for a robot to be ready to interact with the world, but we want to achieve the quick learning and adaptations seen in nature,” said one of the researchers Francisco J Valero-Cuevas.

The team believes that this technology can have numerous possible uses including aiding understanding of human movement and disability, and creating robots that can navigate complex and rapidly changing environments for tasks like disaster recovery.

“If you let these [new] robots learn from relevant experience, then they will eventually find a solution that, once found, will be put to use and adapted as needed,” said lead author Ali Marjaninejad. “The solution may not be perfect, but will be adopted if it is good enough for the situation.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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