Robotics and biometrics have reached at such a pinnacle that we are on the verge of a huge change where the world won’t be anything like we have known it for so many years. Now going through a drastic change the robotics is now keen on reverse engineered metallic animals that are almost identical to their real counterparts. Researchers Andre Rosendo and Shogo Nakatsu, under supervision of Kenichi Narioka and Professor Koh Hosoda from Osaka University’s Graduate School of Information Science and Technology are working on a project called Pneupard. Which is a pneumatic leopard having artificial muscles made from rubber tube sheathed in nylon filled with air that more or less function like real muscles.
As opposed to earlier robotic makes of the animal muscle, the air filled rubber tube make is much more flexible and impact-resistant. This way the robotic Pneupard emulates the range of motion, length of steps, internal muscle forces and the overall movement in a very lifelike manner. The present prototype has hind limb with eight active muscles, spine that will have muscle flexion properties and fore limbs that will have six muscles when it is complete.
Interestingly the muscles have not been pre-programmed for the walking motion and the walking is based on the EMG signals recorded from the real walking motion of a leopard. This ensures the smooth walking motion of the Pneupard no matter what the surface is and the only sensors used in the robotic leopard are force sensors in each foot. So far the project looks promising and is well on the way to giving the Boston Dynamics Cheetah robot a run for its money.
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