Humans have created lots of robots that can do some things as well as us — if not better. Now, two new bots are helping engineers rethink how they can make machines move like we do.
Conventional robots modeled after humans move rigidly because their motions are sturdy and easy to control. But it's not very human-like.
So a group of Japanese engineers wanted to see if they could improve robot motion by making machines as flexible as humans. They modeled their humanoids with musculoskeletal systems similar to a 13-year-old boy's, complete with five-fingered hands and five-toed feet, a multijointed spine and robotic "muscles." The robots could even balance and perspire.
The bots could do a variety of exercises, like crunches, pushups and even some stretches. They also could operate things that require human motion, like brake pedals in cars.
The engineers said their creations will give researchers a better understanding of how humans move, including during sports or something like a car crash. They also said the technology could help develop more life-like artificial limbs.