US researchers have produced a robotic set of legs which they believe is the first to walk in a biologically-accurate manner.
The team says they have managed to simplify the human skills of walking into a ‘musculoskeletal architecture’ which uses sensory feedback to keep the legs stable, balanced and walking.
The biological accuracy of this robot, which has been presented today in the Institute of Physics’ Journal of Neural Engineering, has allowed the researchers to investigate the processes underlying walking in humans.
It may bolster theories of how babies learn to walk, as well as helping to understand how spinal-cord-injury patients can recover the ability to walk.
A key component of the human walking system is the central pattern generator (CPG). The CPG is a neural network in the lumbar region of the spinal cord that generates rhythmic muscle signals. The CPG produces, and then controls, these signals by gathering information from different parts of the body that are responding to the environment. –MOL