Robots usually look rigid and nonhuman, with joints engineered to avoid the elasticity that can make their movements less predictable and harder to control. Roboy, a robot developed by Rolf Pfeifer and colleagues in the Artificial Intelligence Lab at the University of Zurich, is an example of a different approach that is slowly gaining momentum.
Roboy has a four-foot-tall human shape and a set of “muscles” inspired by the human musculoskeletal system. The plastic muscles work together via electrical motors and artificial tendons. Tendon-driven systems like Roboy mimic the flexible mechanics of biology, and could result in a new class of robots that are lighter, safer, and move in a more natural way.
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