These Robot Legs Can Walk 15km — By Themselves

By Andrew Tarantola on at

The Nagoya Institute of Technology in Japan has developed a passive walking robot capable of traveling continuously under its own inertia — without exterior power. All that's required is slight downward slope and a gentle push to get started. Wait, isn't that the exact same idea as a slinky?

The machine's thighs, calves and feet are all proportional in weight and length, allowing it a human-like gate without the assistance of any power source other than the downward slope's potential energy. In fact, the design is very similar to the mechanical process that humans use for locomotion.

The walking process is so efficient that during one test last year, the machine took over 100,000 unassisted steps — 15km — over the course of 13 hours. Researchers hope to integrate these legs into future sports equipment designs and assisted-walking devices.

Terrific, I can't begin to tell you how long I've been waiting for a product that can carry my golf bags and grandmother downhill equally well. [Slashdot]