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Abhishek Swain
Abhishek Swain • Jan 2, 2012

Robots Powered Up To Walk On Beach - Tohoku University

Previously there was a thought that robots lacked the ability to walk through the sand dunes. But that thought soon appeared to change after humanoids started learning how to balance when the earth under their feet gets soft. Walking in a desert or on a sea shore is a tough task for the robots as when they walk at such places, their feet sink into sand and they slip over the fine sand particles. This upsets the droid's balancing system, which assumes it will step on a hard surface. It receives ambiguous  information from its accelerometers which shows that its feet are unsteady.

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To get out of this problem, an engineers team led by Shunsuke Komizunai of Japan’s Tohoku University in Sendai, did R&D about how to tackle the problems of the balancing system in order to overcome the sand’s unusual characteristics. Further they modelled a robot foot of the same size as that of a healthy human and made it walk with various levels of force in a box full of sand. Last month, they had announced the report generated from the accelerometers and other sensors at the Eighth International Conference on Flow Dynamics. Now the team has planned to integrate the ability to walk on sand into the robot and then calibrate the software to adjust with different types of soil.

Source: NewScientist

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