Robot Dog Learns To Walk From Scratch In An Hour

Scientists in Germany have designed a robot dog that can learn to walk from scratch in under an hour. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart, built Morti, a four legged robot to help them figure out the process behind how baby four-legged animals learn to walk. Morti didn’t know anything of its leg structure or mechanics before it began the learning process. But learnt to walk by continuously comparing sent and expected sensor information, running reflex loops, and adapting its motor control patterns. When a young animal walks over surfaces, reflexes kick in and adjust the movement patterns to keep the animal from falling, gradually learning to optimise its movement. The same holds true for the Labrador-sized robot dog. In fact, it learns faster than an animal, in about one hour. Morti’s computer draws only five watts of power in the process of walking - much less than existing industrial quadruped robots which are coded with the knowledge of the robot’s exact mass and body geometry – using a model of the robot. It is therefore hoped that in addition to providing insights into animal anatomy, the research could produce more efficient quadruped robots.

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