They create a bipedal robot with muscle tissue that can walk

Isbel Lázaro.

robot bípedo

A group of Japanese scientists has made a bipedal robot perform precise walking, stopping and turning movements. This robot is made up of rigid and flexible tissues, similar to human bones and muscles, as detailed in a study published in the journal Matter .

To develop a more agile robot with more advanced movements than previously achieved, researchers created a biohybrid robot that replicates human gait and can operate on both land and water. The design includes a foam base on top and weighted legs that facilitate its stability underwater. This biohybrid robot is primarily composed of silicone rubber, with the ability to flex and adapt to muscle movements, and strips of lab-grown skeletal muscle tissue, which connect to the rubber and each leg.

The movements of the bipedal robot

By applying electricity to the muscle tissue, the researchers observed the contraction and elevation of the leg, and when the electricity was interrupted, the heel of the leg descended forward. By alternating electrical stimulation between the left and right leg every 5 seconds, the biohybrid robot managed to “walk” at a speed of 5.4 millimeters per minute (mm/min). To perform turns, the researchers repeatedly applied electrical stimuli to the right leg every 5 seconds, while the left leg acted as an anchor, resulting in the robot completing a 90-degree turn to the left in 62 seconds.

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A cheer broke out in the laboratory when we saw the robot successfully walk in the video. Although they may seem like small steps, they are, in fact, giant steps for biohybrid robots ,” said one of the authors Shoji Takeuchi, a researcher at the University of Tokyo.

Advances in robotics

The innovative design of this bipedal robot is inspired by the heritage of biohybrid robots that use muscle tissues to allow these two-legged robots to crawl, swim in straight lines and perform turns fluidly. This progress represents the first time these robots have acquired the ability to pivot and make sharp turns, an aspect essential to their ability to avoid obstacles.

Currently, we manually move a pair of electrodes to apply a single electric field to the robot’s legs, which takes time. Later, by integrating the electrodes into the robot we will increase the speed of its movements more efficiently.“adds the researcher in a statement.

The group of researchers intends to provide the bipedal robot with thicker joints and muscle tissues to facilitate more advanced and powerful movements. However, as a previous step, they must implement a nutrient supply system to keep the tissues and structures of the device alive that enable the robot to function in the air.

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