Researchers developed a robo-bug that can walk like a real insect, according to a report published on March 10, 2018.
There are various projects working on replicating the locomotion of insects. However, computers and logic cannot improvise and adapt the way insects do. The project from Tokyo tech produced gaits on the fly, which were not programmed by the researchers. Ludovico Minati, lead researcher said, “Perhaps the most exciting moment in the research was when we observed the robot exhibit phenomena and gaits which we neither designed nor expected, and later found out also exist in biological insects,”
A complex AI or pattern generator, which responds to any situation can be programmed. However, if a small bug can adapt to such situations, researchers believe that there will be a much easier way to achieve it. Different patterns were produced by different gaits. These different gaits are made by a hexapod robot of Minati. A master signal is produced by a central pattern generator. Master signal is interpreted by analog arrays and sent to the oscillators, which move the legs of the robot. One of the five basic parameters have to be tweaked and the circuits are reconfigured by the arrays to produce a working gait.
Yasaharu Koike, Minati’s colleague said, “An important aspect of the controller is that it condenses so much complexity into only a small number of parameters. These can be considered high-level parameters, in that they explicitly set the gait, speed, posture, etc.” The creation of small robots can be made much easier by simplifying the hardware and software.