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New robot 'sets record' for distance walking

Scientists have developed a robot, which they claim has set a new record by walking nonstop for around ten kilometres at a stretch.

world Updated: Apr 12, 2008 13:12 IST

Scientists have developed a robot which they claim has set a new record by walking nonstop for around ten kilometres at a stretch.

An earlier version of the same robot had already set a record by free-walking a bit over one kilometre.

But this new robot, developed by Cornell University researchers led by Prof Andy Ruina, walked and walked until it finally stopped and fell backward, perhaps because its battery ran down.

"We've just moved into this world of electromechanical devices and to make something this robust is big achievement. We've learned tons about what it takes to make walking work," Ruina said.

Unlike other walking robots that use motors to control every movement, the robot named Ranger emulates human walking, using gravity to help swing its legs forward.

Standing still, the robot looks a bit like a tall sawhorse; walking, it suggests a human on crutches, alternately swinging forward two outside legs and then two inside ones.

There are no knees, but at the ends of the legs are feet that can be tipped up and down, so that the robot pushes off with its toes, then tilts its feet upward to land on the heels as it brings its legs forward.