Ryuma Niiyama, currently a post-doc at MIT's Robot Locomotion Group, has built an anthrophomorphic running robot. The robot's two legs are modeled after human legs, with each of the six major thigh muscles replaced by a set of pneumatic actuators. The robot's lower legs are carbon blades similar to the prosthetic feet used by South African paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius.
The running robot's hardware was developed as part of Niiyama's PhD at the Department of Mechano-Informatics of the University of Tokyo with Satoshi Nishikawa and Yasuo Kuniyoshi. At MIT, Niiyama is now working on teaching the robot how to run by copying the timing and pattern of human muscle movement.
In a first video, the robot performs a short, 5-step dash reaching 1.2m/s before falling over. The researchers are now fine-tuning the robot's feedback control system and working towards tests on a real running track.