Step on moon with robotic chimp

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On November 17, 1970 the first robotic Lunar Rover to land on the Moon was introduced. Robots might be the economical  solution to roam alien territories without risking human lives.

According to the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence in Bremen, Germany the next robot that roams the Moon is more likely to be an ape.

Ape’s superior ability to choose between stable four-legged locomotion and agile bipedal walk had made the researchers choose ape as their model, Daniel Kuhn of German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence explained.

Simulated lunar landscapes were used to check the efficacy and researchers found the robot can walk up and down slopes of up to 20 degrees.

Currently the research is focusing on converting four legged to two legged motion.  Interestingly  the robotic chimpanzee focuses on a sophisticated lower limb system that combines the torque and twist of the chimpanzee’s lower body.

And, like a real chimp, the robot’s feet and hands have multiple sensors and multiple points of contact.

Its biggest advantage, however, comes from the fact that like a real chimpanzees, it has a spine.

“We have an actuated spine — one of the first ever built — and for us it was very interesting how the spine influences the motion of the legs,” Kuhn said. “We need much less activation for the knee — the knee can be much lower if we use the spine and it needs less force to move the robot. Finally it will be an animal that can stand on four legs, giving it stability, but can use its front two legs to manipulate objects,” he said.

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