The centipede robot uses artificial neurons to change gait. Insects resort to such behavior in the natural environment – they change their gait in response to external stimuli. The work of scientists from the University of Seville is described on the Fundación Descubre.
The 3D-printed six-legged robot is called NeuroPod. 30 artificial neurons are built into the processor that controls it – they receive electronic stimuli in the form of various signals transmitted from an adjacent wired computer.
In response to these signals, neurons instantly send commands to 18 servo motors that control the legs of the robot. Once the signal is received, NeuroPod smoothly switches between different types of gait – for example, running or trotting.
While the movements of the robot look rather awkward, however, engineers plan to refine the design so that the NeuroPod can move more smoothly. In addition, in the near future, scientists intend to equip the robot with visual and auditory sensors that will allow it to respond to environmental signals.
The neural network tested with the help of a robot in the future can be used in artificial limbs with a mechanical drive to quickly switch between performing various actions in response to user commands, the authors of the study note.