Walk It Off Soldier - Watch As This Robot Learns To Walk With A Broken Leg
If there's one thing that living beings are good at, it's adapting. The same can't normally be said for robots, or at least robots in their present day level of advancement. Presently, the majority of robots are only capable of responding to a limited number of stimuli, with those responses generally forming an equally limited stockpile of predetermined reactions. But an international research team is working to develop a robot that can adapt its behaviour just like an animal would in the wild.
The team, made up of Antoine Cully and Jean-Baptiste Mouret of Paris's Sorbonne and the University of Wyoming's Jeff Clune, created a six-legged robot that is able to adapt its walking style when one of its legs becomes damaged. By programming it with an "intelligent trial and error algorithm", the robot is able to respond to its stimuli, in this case a broken leg, within a matter of minutes. The video below shows how the robot is able to test a number of different techniques and analyze which one is the most efficient. Warning, it's kind of heartbreaking....
In their recent research paper, the team states that they believe their work will "enable more robust, effective, autonomous robots and suggests principles that animals may use to adapt to injury". Indeed, one of the major concerns for robotics developers has been how their charges can adapt to unforeseen circumstances and stimuli. Take Boston Dynamics' Big Dog, for example. Big Dog is at the cutting edge of robotic locomotion, but should one of its legs become damaged or broken, it is essentially rendered useless. Combining research into adaptive responses with advanced locomotion will make many robots far more suitable for real life applications.