MABEL was built in 2008 in collaboration with researchers from the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Grizzle and University of Michigan electrical and computer engineering students Koushil Sreenath and Hae-Won Park have since spent time improving MABEL training. They have progressively refined the algorithms that allow the robot to react to its environment in real time.At first MABEL walked smoothly and quickly on flat surfaces. Then it passed to uneven ground. At the end of July he made his first jog.
Few robots can run and the researchers say that no machine, apart from MABEL, can do so with such similarity to the movements of the human step. Its weight is distributed like that of a person.MABEL has a heavier torso and light, flexible legs with springs that act as tendons.. According to Grizzle, as a real human runnerMABEL40 percent of each step is in the air. Other running robots go almost at the speed of brisk walking, and in them the so-called “phase of flight,” which is when both feet do not touch the ground, lasts less than 10 percent for each step.
Engineers envision some extraordinary potential applications for their work: exoskeletons that allow people now confined to wheelchairs to walk again, or that give rescue personnel superhuman abilities, and limb prosthetics that behave like their biological counterparts. . Bipedal robots with good running would also have the advantage that they can move over rough terrain and inside buildings built for humans. Someday they might operate assoldiers or relief personnel, the engineers suggest.
“The robotics community has struggled to produce machines that can go where people go and that is why a human morphology is important,” Grizzle said. “If you wanted to send robots looking for people inside a burning house, the robot probably needs the ability to walk up and down stairs, step over children’s toys on the ground, and maneuver in an environment where wheels and tracks may not be appropriate, “he adds. Wheels are an excellent method of moving on flat surfaces, but when the ground is rocky the two legs are much more efficient.