4 legged robot walking among electrical infrastructureFor the University of Washington’s Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Wayne Gillam writes about a UW team that examined just why running, walking and jumping are so tough for robots outside of tightly controlled lab environments. Compared to their animal counterparts, the engineering “subsystems” (like power systems and sensors) that make up legged locomotion are far superior in robots — yet from a whole-systems perspective, the animals beat the robots hands-down. The research team, which consisted of engineers and biologists, identified some promising directions for the next phase of robotics research to help robots move more like animals and some important ethical considerations. Photo: Cvoellmy via Wikimedia Commons