When a human or animal breaks or injures a leg, they are quickly able to find alternative ways to continue moving, but ambulatory robots lack such a capability. Roboticists Antoine Cully and Jean-Baptiste Mouret of the Sorbonne in Paris, and Jeff Clune of the University of Wyoming are seeking to correct this deficiency. The scientists used a trial-and-error methodology modeled on the behaviors of injured animals to help a six-legged robot relearn how to walk again once one or more of its legs were damaged.
The method enables the robot to learn which leg is damaged and then, through trial and error, determine the best alternative method of locomotion.
Fumiya Iida of the University of Cambridge's Machine Intelligence Laboratory says the ability to continue walking on damaged limbs addresses part of the larger problem of creating "robots that can adapt to uncertain and unstructured environments."
Iida says the technology has applications in everything from space exploration to the military to disaster recovery and response.
From BBC News
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