If you’re interested in state of the art robot development, then you have to check out the Honda Asimo videos. They include short video clips highlighting the new Asimo research model, Asimo running at 3 km/hour, obstacle avoidance, visual and force sensors, a new neck joint, and autonomous movement.
Designing a robot that can actually run presents numerous, non-trival challenges. The Honda engineers have done an excellent job of solving the problems involved. I did notice that several of the articles written about Asimo running commented on his unnatural gait. It seems to be a case of what you are familiar with becoming your norm. When I viewed the running video it looked like a perfectly normal running gait - for a middle aged Japanese man or woman. Living here in Japan, I see people run with that shuffling/hopping step all the time. I suspect that it came from the Edo era when most of the people wore kimono and geta (raised wooden clog sandals) that restricted their leg and foot movement. Watch any period samurai drama and you’ll see people running just like Asimo.
It’s worth noting that the general Honda video site includes some other interesting videos on their new F1 racing machine, the company history, fuel cells, aircraft engines, and the HondaJet. They even took the liberty of naming their video site “HDTV”. I would have thought that HDTV means High Definition TeleVision, but not in this case. For Honda, HDTV means Honda Dreamers TV.
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