Check out Runbot2, a quadrupedal robot built by Tokyo Polytechnic University in 1999. It was one of several legged robots built by the university and was still being used in research up until 2003, at which point it was able to achieve a speed of 1.3m/sec. The goal was to create a robot that could actively switch between a slow trot up to a full gallop. In order that the robot be as light weight as possible, all computer controls are handled by an external computer which connects to each of the robot’s joints via wire. This has the disadvantage of leashing the robot to the nearby computer, but it reduced the weight to only 4.1kg (9 lbs). The robot was also given colored markers which would be tracked in three dimensions by external cameras to estimate the robot’s position.
Don’t be fooled by the video, as the actual robot is only 40cm (about 16 inches) in length. (a couple more images follow after the break). It may have nothing on Boston Dynamics’ BigDog, but is still pretty interesting to see in motion. It makes me wonder how MIT’s Cheetah robot project is coming along. You can see more movies of RunBot2, and animated .gifs of some of their earlier robots (including one and two-legged robots), at the source link.
[source: RunBot (EN/JP)] & [Tokyo Polytechnic U. Dept. of System Electronics & Info. Tech. (JP)]
RunBot / Tokyo Polytechnic U.