Robot Rebounds After Leg Chopped Off

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Should we ever decide to mount an attack on our future robot overlords, know this: they will be able to sustain damage — even loose a limb — and keep on fighting.

Scientists at the University Pierre and Marie Curie-Paris’s Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics have designed a self-aware hexapod capable of carrying on functional behaviors, even after having one of its legs “chopped off.”

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In this video, the full-functioning, six-legged robot is shown skittering about with a 26 cm per second gait. When it loses function in one of its legs, it limps around at just 8 cm/s. But after running through a series of machine-learning algorithms, the model learns a new way to walk and acquires a five-legged gait that moves at 18 cm/s.

Researchers compare the robot’s adaptability to that of a human’s:

On a higher level, this concept could also share some similarities with what human do when they are injured: if a movement is painful, humans do not fully understand what cause the pain, but they identify the behaviors that cause the pain; once they know that some move are painful, they learn to instinctively avoid them.

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All wisecracks aside, this bot is a pretty cool advancement for robotics. For a moment, let’s assume this technology will be used for benevolent missions, rather than apocalyptic ones. Rescue and exploration robots come to mind, but what else? Feel free to sound off in the comments below.

via IEEE Spectrum

Credit: Universite Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris, ISIR