(December 13, 2010) Japanese researcher Ryuma Niiyama wants to build a biped robot that runs.
But not like Asimo, whose running gait is a bit, well, mechanical.
Niiyama wants a robot with the vigor and agility of a human sprinter.
To do that, he's building a legged bot that mimics our musculoskeletal system.
He calls his robot Athlete. Each leg has seven sets of artificial muscles. The sets, each with one to six pneumatic actuators, correspond to muscles in the human body -- gluteus maximus, adductor, hamstring, and so forth
To simplify things a bit, the robot uses prosthetic blades, of the type that double amputees use to run.
And to add a human touch, Niiyama makes the robot wear a pair of black shorts.