Researchers at the University of Michigan, headed by professor Jessy Grizzle, have successfully developed and created not only a running but also obstacle-scaling humanoid robot called MABEL. This robot can run like a human being, but trudges like a cylon.
With the almost human-like physiology embedded in this robot, MABEL, which is dubbed as the world’s fastest knee-equipped bipedal robot, is capable of running up to 3.06 meters per second, or nearly 6.8 miles per hour. It weighs almost the same as any grown human at 65 kilograms with most of its weight in its torso (40 kilograms).
Its legs, though, were designed to be light and created with springs that double as load-balancing and shock-absorbing tendons. MABEL’s movements are powered by two motors in each leg and utilize a cable transmission. Sensors that have been installed continually monitor the angle of every knee and hip joint and the overall balance of the MABEL humanoid robot.
Its researchers hope that through this humanoid robot they will one day find extraordinary potential application for legged robot research-exoskeletons that will help physically challenged individuals, especially those who confined to wheelchairs, walk again or provide rescuers with superhuman capabilities and further develop powered prosthetic limbs that can act like those of a human being.