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Robo Legs With Assistive Vision

Looking at robotics today, it’s certainly clear that it has come a long way. But robot legs with assistive vision? Sounds like the concept jumped right out of a science fiction movie.

A working prototype has actually already been developed by Mo Rastgaar, a Michigan Technological University mechanical engineer, and his team. The next aim is to develop artificial vision for the robo leg to allow for more natural movement and gait.

Artificial vision will be provided by a low-cost camera. Data will then be processed by a computer that's also responsible for controlling movement.

According to Rastgaar, locomotion is achieved with the use of a computer-controlled actuator which can move the prosthetic ankle with the aid of a system of cables. The computer analyzes the data from the camera and makes appropriate adjustments to allow the robo leg to move and react like a normal leg depending upon the user's movements and the profile of the ground.

Rastgaar's team also made some refinements to the actuator design to make it lighter and more streamlined. It could actually be carried around in one's pocket or placed in a fanny pack. It's also easy to remove, allowing for more flexibility in case the user wishes to just use a passive prosthetic.

These advanced seeing robot legs promise to be a more welcome innovation and may hold the key for more advanced technology in the future. This is something that may give disabled people and amputees a chance at attaining some normalcy and more comfort in their lives.

The Promising Contributions of Robo Legs With Assistive Vision

It may be some time before we actually get to a point where body parts can be replaced by robot attachments that can be controlled directly by our brains, but robots legs with assistive vision just may be the start of making things a little easier. There’s a lot of potential into this exciting new technology.

  • Allows for easier movement: People with prosthetic have to exert some effort in moving around in these artificial extensions. They have to adjust and plan their movements in order to make up for their limited range of motion. But with robo legs with assistive vision, people not only get a robotic limb that has greater range of motion than a prosthetic but a better and smarter substitute that’s a closer replacement in terms of function and someday even appearance to a real leg.
  • Makes for more “normal” living: By providing the look and feel closer to that of a real leg, people with advanced robot prosthetics don’t have to feel any different. They can continue functioning normally and perform activities of daily living just like everybody else, the only difference being they’re part machine.
  • Could boost self-esteem: Robot legs may still look very mechanical and unnatural at the moment, but achieving more natural functionality is a step in the right direction. People with robot legs won’t have to feel too self conscious and dependent thanks to the advanced capabilities of this technology which allows them to move around more easily and look more natural in doing so.

Robo legs with assistive vision are just the beginning of coming up with more suitable replacements for damaged human body parts. Soon enough the bond between man and machine will be redefined, and we may see other robotic body parts with "eyes".

 

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