|The Amazing Dr Guero And His Walking Robots|
|Friday, 02 January 2015|
The contributions of people outside the mainstream of things often get overlooked. The work of Dr Guero, a seemingly lone AI hacker, has been fascinating and amusing us for a while, but is there something of real value here?
Dr Guero is a nickname derived from the character from Dragon Ball Dr Gero who created an army of androids (robots not mobile phones) and transferred his own brain into one. His real name is Masahiko Yamaguchi and it seems he has worked at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Boston Dynamics, and Osaka University although there is no sign of an academic affiliation at the moment.
Taking a standard off-the-shelf hobby robot, A KHR-3HV costing around $1,800, and making some modifications has resulted in a robot that walks and generally balances better than most. The important point is that while the robot has been modified it is the software that seems to be responsible for the performance.
The robot walks using a human like "heel to toe" gait. This is very different from many supposedly advanced robots with their bent knees and flat-footed walk. We have covered the fact that the robot walks better than most in a previous news item but now we have a video of it dancing - and the range of movement is remarkable.
As you watch the video concentrate on the robot's foot movements:
And I have no idea what the 2001 interlude is all about either.
If you take a look at the design of the system that produces the robot's movements it is more sophisticated than you might expect. It seems to be running a simulation of the human motor cortex performed by multiple machines and fed to the robot via a WiFi link.
The server seems to be implementing an artificial brain algorithm. This is described and demonstrated in this following video that seems to be about learning to balance an inverted pendulum:
This is about as far as I can get with my limited Japanese and both Google and Bing translators. It isn't even clear if the text is sufficient to make clear what is happening here but it does seem to be something different from most neural network implementations and even the neuromorphic approaches to AI.
Given that the videos on Dr Guero's web site seem to show robots doing things that we regard as difficult in impressive ways it might be time for someone to work on a translation. and see if this is truly amazing or just good fun.
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|Last Updated ( Friday, 02 January 2015 )|