By Rob Corder
Sony is following-up on the success of its AIBO robotic dog by developing a human equivalent. But the challenge of walking on two legs is a lot tougher than walking on four.
Sony Corporation today announced the development of a small two-legged walking robot. The SDR-3X is still in the prototype stage, but will step-out in public for the first time at the ROBODEX 2000 event in Japan later this week.
The robot uses the same OPEN-R architecture as Sony's four-legged autonomous Entertainment Robot AIBO, but will require considerable further development if it is to mimic a human as effectively as AIBO mimics a dog.
The challenge of keeping a two-legged robot upright is significantly more difficult than keeping a four-legged robot on its feet.
To achieve stable walking, Sony has developed what it calls Zero Moment Point (ZMP), which effectively gives the robot its balance. To give you a taste of that task, ZMP needs to look at how the combined force of both the inertia and body weight interact. This must be judged against whether balance is possible on the surface that is being walked upon.
The SDR-3X uses two RISC processors for thinking and motion control. Information gathered from a CCD camera, microphone, posture sensors and touch sensors on the bottom of the feet are processed to synchronise movements of the body joints.
No launch date has been announced.