Japanese researcher uses an eye-sensor camera to enable a bipedal robot to balance itself, while running on a treadmill. Jim Drury reports.
Its developers say Achires is the fastest bipedal robot in the world - relative to its size. Devised by scientists at the University of Tokyo, the 14-centimetre high robot can reach speeds of up to 4.2 kilometres per hour, says team leader Professor Masatoshi Ishikawa. SOUNDBITE (Japanese) PROFESSOR OF INFORMATION PHYSICS AND COMPUTING DEPARTMENT AT UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO, MASATOSHI ISHIKAWA, SAYING: "We have created a robot that can run - when it's converted to the size of a person - up to 10 to 20 kilometres per hour, a normal speed of jogging or marathon running, making it the fastest running robot we know of." Achires is the Japanese word for the hero of Greek mythology, Achilles. Key to its ability is an eye-sensor and motion-analysing technology that converts video at 600 frames per second. SOUNDBITE (Japanese) PROFESSOR OF INFORMATION PHYSICS AND COMPUTING DEPARTMENT AT UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO, MASATOSHI ISHIKAWA, SAYING: "We used a fast eye and fast motors to make a robot that can move very quickly and accurately." Work is needed to improve Achires's consistency before it goes commercial. It fell over during all seven test runs when we visited. The team is looking to develop faster sensors and lighter motors, as well as overcoming the overheating problems caused by the use of high-voltage power. These, Ishikawa says, are its main stumbling blocks.