How do babies learn to walk? And how to victims of spinal cord injuries regain the ability to do so? We might soon have a bit more insight into these phenomena, because researchers at the University of Arizona have created the first pair of legs that can walk in in a biologically accurate way.
So how does it strut just like a real warm-blooded person? Scientists built it with a simplified version of the neural and musculoskeletal architecture that we have. Most importantly, that means the central pattern generator (CPG), the network of neurons that make rhythmic patterned outputs sans sensory feedback. That’s the stuff in our brains that lets us walk without thinking “left, left, left, right left.” The robot has an artificial version of a CPG, which lets it gait just like a human. The next logical step would be giving it a square of cardboard and teaching this robot how to breakdance. [KurzweilAI]