Achires, a two legged robot is the latest invention of a team of researchers at the University of Tokyo. This robot can run efficiently without the usage of the Zero Moment Control (ZMP) since it makes use of actuators and high speed cameras. This research team that is led by Masatoshi Ishikawa is the same team that had constructed a robot that could compete with human beings at the rock-paper-scissors game.
It is way more challenging to program two legged robots as compared to four legged robots primarily because of issues pertaining to balancing. Hitherto, most of the robots have been created using ZMP; something that needs extreme processing to the extent that the robots are incapable of running fast. In Ishikawa’s lab, the ZMP approach has been eliminated which is why the two legged robots can run quite fast, sometimes at the speed of 4.2 km/h.
Achires is a small robot with legs measuring just 14 cm. The research team has noted that a human sized version of the same robot created with the help of torque can run almost at the speed of 20 km/h. however, the energy consumption would be quite high. Achires can at the moment, run only for a period of 10 seconds and scientists are trying to increase that time. It can take six steps per second and can also lean forward by taking maximum advantage of gravity.
Snapshots of the robot in motion are taken by a high speed camera that feeds a computer with that information. And this computer uses that information to balance and control the robot. The high speed actuators ensure quick response to the commands given by the computer. This results in a robot that uses minimal computational muscle to run with a smooth gait.
The main rationale of the research team is to develop human sized robots that can be applied in engineering projects and large scale production with a view to lowering production costs.