Walking Made Simple

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Science  01 Apr 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5718, pp. 58-59
DOI: 10.1126/science.1111110

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It is possible to design robots that walk in a humanlike manner by providing them with motors to drive every joint and a computer that tells every joint what its angle should be. There are many successful robots of this ilk, but they are very complex and use far more energy than would a walking human. In his Perspective, Alexander discusses a different type of robot inspired by toys that walk passively downhill. These robots have much simpler control systems and use much less energy than conventional walking robots.