Bielefeld University researchers have developed Hector, a robot based on a stick insect that has passive elastic joints and an ultralight exoskeleton.
The researchers note Hector is unique because it is equipped with many sensors and it functions according to a biologically inspired decentralized reactive control concept known as the Walknet.
By 2017, the walking robot will be equipped with additional abilities as part of a major project at the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC). One major aspect of the project is the fusion of large amounts of data from sensors so the robot can walk more autonomously than before. "The way that the elasticity in Hector's drives acts is comparable to the way that muscles act in biological systems," says Bielefeld professor Axel Schneider.
The researchers also programmed a virtual version of Hector to test experimental control approaches without damaging the robot.
CITEC united eight research groups in a large-scale project to optimize Hector. The researchers currently are working on equipping Hector's front section with far-range sensors. "A major challenge will now be to find an efficient way to integrate these far-range sensors with the posture sensors and joint control sensors," says Bielefeld professor Volker Durr.
From Bielefeld University
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