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Half of a human – new robot legs walk on their own, sans power.

girls working at computer coding laughing

No power supply, motor, or on/off switch – this is literally an unstoppable robot designed to wander earth one aluminum step at a time.

Ok, it’s not that dramatic, as the passive robot legs developed by a research team at the Nagoya Institute of Technology still need some work before they serve a practical purpose.  But a cool feat nonetheless, generating excitement about where such a development could lead.

During a walking test, the robot managed to take 100,000 steps in a row, strolling for 13 hours straight – all from a gentle push to get its movement started.  Equipped with “thighs,” “lower legs,” and “ankles,” the robot’s support is distributed proportionately in terms of length and weight.

Of course this is a much different type of robot than what we are accustomed to seeing.  Robotics courses or programming classes are more focused on writing code to command a powered robot to perform a variety tasks above and beyond walking.  But, with the Nagoya robot’s only source of power coming from potential energy by walking down a slight slope, it can serve as the driving force behind an assisted-walking device…one that is efficient and “very environmentally friendly” as stated by Nagoya researcher Kazuki Iwatsuki.

So maybe it isn’t apps that are taking over the world, but many questions still remain for these roaming robot legs – how do they stop their momentum?  Can they function uphill or on an even surface?  Can they be steered or are they able to change direction?  Either way, this development signals a big step in a new tech direction.