manchineel writes with a link to a BBC article on the lessons learned from a project in locomotive robotics. 'Runbot', as it is known, is the result of a modern technology combined with a 1930s physiology study into human locomotion. The study found that walking is largely an automatic process; we only engage our brains when we have to navigate around an obstacle or deal with rough terrain. "The basic walking steps of Runbot, which has been built by scientists co-operating across Europe, are controlled by reflex information received by peripheral sensors on the joints and feet of the robot, as well as an accelerometer which monitors the pitch of the machine. These sensors pass data on to local neural loops - the equivalent of local circuits - which analyse the information and make adjustments to the gait of the robot in real time."
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