Remember Boston Dynamics’ Petman? This is more or less a BigDog, except that it moves around on two legs in an extremely stable manner. Kicking it will not send it down to the floor (or canvas, depending on where it is walking on at the moment), and Petman has proven to be an inspiration for the BioBipeds robot. Researchers at the SIM Group of TU Darmstadt and the Locomotion Laboratory of Jena University intend to deliver heel-to-toe walking capability with the BioBipeds, where these musculoskeletal robots will incorporate elasticity in order to achieve energy efficient standing, walking, as well as running.
Currently, only BioBiped1 has been constructed to date, but it has managed to hop around in a rather impressive manner already. The kind of hopping ends up generating a similar level of stress as experienced by us humans when we don our running shoes and go for a light jog, so this bodes well for those who speculate that such a robot will be making its way to the treadmill sometime down the road. Each leg will feature a quartet of joints, where they will work in tandem by combining both active motors and passive springs, referencing the muscles and tendons which are found in a human leg. Now this is one robot that we hope will be able to stand on its own two legs without any external help eventually – literally.